tv Americas Water Challenges CSPAN May 9, 2016 10:02am-11:07am EDT
later today i look at the rise of terrorism in europe and why certain groups are blamed for promoting a jihadist agenda in the region. hosted by new america and began-- because a 12:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. coming up a look at social welfare programs for members of the military. what programs are available, how effective they are and whether they should be privatized late to do-- like today at 4:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. now, we will hear about the us wanted-- water supply, water industry executives and journalist talk about the nation's water supply, if the structure policy. this is one hour. >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> good morning. i am john friedman and i'm based in washington dc where the government affairs a global apartment shared-- partnership. ge is one of the leading technology companies. we have 50000 customers and 130 cussed-- countries. i don't see him, but i had the honor on tuesday of attending the white house water summit. peter, marianne, you were there as well and probably others. one of the interesting things i heard was from john, president obama's scientific advisor and he said while members are almost never everything, there almost always a great starting point. i think in your opening remarks where you talk about the state of the nation's water challenges you laid out numbers that are very sobering. i will just add to that that the
american society of civil engineers released a report-- giving the country's water and wastewater of the structure a grade of d-. that is worse than my grade of calculus to at the university of virginia. i still don't know why i took that class. i was a history major. we are losing 7 billion gallons of water each and every day through that d- and the structure even though we experience droughts that are unprecedented in our history in places like california. but, i will come back to john who also said while these challenges are great, they are also solvable and this morning we have a panel of four in criminal experts who are going to tell us how we go about solving these challenges through policy and i'm going to start and work for my left to the end.
we will start with brett walton. bread is a reporter for the circle of blue. many of you probably know the circle of blue as a news agency that shines a light on water issues globally. than we have marion dickenson. marianne is the ceo of the alliance for water efficiency in chicago and marianne provides thought leadership and best practices around using water sustainably. then, we have lynn broaddus who runs broadview collaboration inc., which i believe works with nonprofit, government clients to help them develop natural resources strategy and lynn, he also worked for six years before that leading environmental programs at the johnson foundation wings spread, johnson foundation wing spread and perhaps even more important, a graduate of the university of
virginia who plays tonight at 7:00 p.m. against iowa state, which leads me to peter-- peter gleick. peter is a world-famous water policy expert. peter, read about you before i became government affairs leader and ready many of your articles and have seen you testify before congress. like most grads, peter probably does not even know that yale has a vast melting, but they beat baylor the ncaa tournament before losing and post game to duke. that it brings us to our panel discussion. i would like each of our panelists to take one to two minutes to tell us more about themselves so you have some context for remarks when we asked them questions and bright, let's start with you. >> thank you, john it's good to be here. circle of blue are a news agency, nonprofit news agency
that reports on water and we view water as the lens to see the world. duties connected challenges challenges of energy, health, economic social well-being, all of this and we find water with the most compelling stories of our time. we tell the story of the united states and china and india, australia, and now south africa. what we see is that systems that we built decades ago are no longer suitable for today's environmental and social conditions. we have a changing climate, changing demand patterns in the story is twofold. , do policymakers and society recognize that change? number two, how do they respond to it? the story we tell is one pointing out the changes and also take a look at what the response is, is it efficient, where the gaps and where do we need to see more action. i'm glad to be on a panel about the comedic asian these
challenges because it is a big problem with a lot of big words and concepts that need translation to the public to advocate for change into the policy makers to understand what the best change could be. >> marianne. >> hello. i represent the alliance pour water efficiency, which is a nonprofit organization formed in 2007, to promote the efficient and sustainable use of water in the united states and canada. you might wonder why we were only formed in 2007 when energy efficiency organizations similar to ours have been in existence for 30 years we wondered the same thing. there were a number of us working in the field of water conservation and efficiency and realize there was no national platform for any kind of advocacy on this issue and so we created a organization to do that. to provide not only technical assistance to water utilities and other water using stakeholders about what the best
practices were in water efficiency, most cost-effective options, but also to do research on what that next leading-edge should be and to provide guidance to state and federal ledger's leaders policymakers about needed policy that would promote efficient solutions, so that's why i'm pleased to be part of this panel where we will talk about what our ideas are for policy barriers. i will just conclude by apologizing for my voice. i have been sick this week, so if i start having a coughing fit while i talk, please forgive me. >> lynn. >> marianne's comment, there is a great lead-in to it's often said that all water is local and we need some. thank you very much. i think this will go better that way. i am president of a company has started last year, broadview collaborative which works primarily with nonprofit foundation clients, but also with water innovation startup companies.
some of the small innovators looking to break into and changes from the ways that we do water. i think of-- when i started prior to starting my own company as john was saying i was with the johnson foundation at wing spread, which is unusual foundation in that we didn't give grants, we brought people together for dialogue and i was charged with starting to lead a national conversation around water, bringing together different sectors. one of the first big kind of consensus reports we put out was in 2010, charting new waters called to action for national water something policy. but, what was really interesting especially from a 2016 perspective is when we were shopping that around with federal agencies, with local groups, with states whatever, and a lot of the response was
what is the big deal about water. why are you so worried about water? i will say that including have a hard time getting traction with the us department of energy at the time. i'm very happy to say that for all the wrong reasons that segment has changed. first, texas was having a drought and people viewed texas as a nether country, it's their problem, but the macau afforded drought happened that was a really big deal and caught people's attention around water quantity issues. des moines, having to make a statement and take on a lawsuit to push upstream on their water quality problems coming off of agricultural land is getting traction locally, but hasn't been a national story like it should be. failing septic in our-- some of our rural areas and the horrible human story that comes along with that, despite brett's best efforts is still not really getting national attention and
national traction. when charlton west virginia express the shop is water because of chemical spill that probably was preventable, batch got a blip of national attention, but no national changes. water cutoffs in detroit, can sort of their problem. not until this went situation-- i hope this is finally what is going to get our national consciousness wrapped around water. i think that we will have plenty of chances to talk about what that may or may not to bring about, some of the good and bad that comes from that. i also said think one of the things we will be addressing today is who needs to be at the table in these multi- partnership things and it strikes me that-- thank you very much-- that in my sort of pro bono part of my life i actually have a foot in most of the camps
that need to be a table. i'm on a board along with marianne dickason river network, which i'd cheer that board and it represents more than 500 watershed organizations and citizen advocates, private citizen and the local voice and citizen advocate that is such a critical part of the work that needs to happen around water. i also chaired a board of the nelson institute for environment all studies at the university of wisconsin madison and there's academic role, the very important academic role to drive a lot of innovation that we see that then can get commercialized and that's really important. the income i also am on the board of the watered by the federation, which is really a utility organization representing primarily wastewater utilities and also stormwater into a large extent a lot of overlap with water supply. so, the utility sector needs to be at the table. they are doing a lot and they need to do a lot more.
i think that that's-- me that partnership gives me a slightly unique perspective into all those worlds and i am really looking forward to this conversation and to what the role that columbia can play in helping to drive this board. thank you. >> peter, that brings us to you. >> good morning, everyone. i'm delighted to be here. first of all, thank you to columbia for hosting this. second, there are a lot of people in the room i know and have known for a long time. some of whom i have seen twice in one week, which is a remarkable thing. sometimes i go months without seeing them, so that's sort of exciting. on director of the pacific institute in oakland, california , a nonprofit research and policy group working on creating and advancing solutions to the world's pressing water problems. we do a book every two years called the world's water global water issues. we did a book a couple of years ago on a 21st century us water
policy, which i will draw on it today, oxford university. i'm a scientist by training, hydrology and climatology and i realize this is a water policy panel, but that's with the institute does, merge science and policy and water as we heard this morning already in interesting comments, so from water deficit to water surplus. thank you. actually, you could leave all. you can't address this only with the science. you have to address it with policy. water is a complicated issue. we work on the corporate sector at the pacific institute as well we are the science secretary for someone called the un ceo water mandate, which is part of the un that brings the corporate sector together on water stewardship. there's the global compact, which is the broad effort to
bring the corporate sector together in a sustainability issues and the ceo water mandate , which is the water piece of that we work closely with many of you in the room on the component of this. i'm going to stop their. i think we have plenty to talk about. >> thank you. thank you all for your deductions. what are the things we heard at the white house water summit? and by the way thank you for organizing that, it was outstanding. i guess lynn, you brought this up in just asking for a glass of water. is local and regional and yet policies are often made at the national level. so, i want to start with the national level and. , i think i'm going to start with you because i have heard you testify this topic, but what needs to be done from a national policy standpoint to address these challenges? >> thank you. so, waters local, mostly.
the cards of pricing issues we heard about, the regionalization of the small-scale water systems we have heard about, state agencies, local agencies. water really is local, but having said that there are fundamental things that the us needs to do at the federal level and i don't normally like to list of things, but i'm going to just get the conversation going, so pardon me. >> it worked well for rick perry, peter. >> what a sad comparison. i will try to do better than that. i have 11 things and i will go through them fast. never one, we have to combine and streamline federal agencies. there are a zillion federal agencies dealing with aspects of water. there should not be department of water. on knots adjusting that, but we need to do a better job at the federal level at integrating activities of the federal agencies to deal with water.
number two, we need to revive river basin commission's. states that share rivers, which is almost every state in one form or another need to work together to manage those river basins across state boundaries. we need for, national water commission. that advises the president and commerce on these issues. there has not been a national water commission in the united states since i think 1970. the world of it different today. fourth, we have to improve data. the state of water data and this was mentioned earlier and some of these things have been mentioned earlier, it is sad and that is a polite term for it. we don't collect water data on water use. the water data that is collected isn't available and is in paper form our database is not easily accessible. there needs to be a fundamental revolution and there ought to be given technology today in the way we collect and distribution manage and use water data. that's from the national level
to the personal level. we talked about water utility bills. this, we have to use a better job-- we had to do a better job of using at no tools and this was raised as well. water pricing structures at the local level, but the way the federal government deals with water and the water that it distributes through federally paid for water systems is a important part of this. we have to find the state revolving loan fund a fully in fact, it ought to be hugely increased in cost and we can talk about that later in the context of the flint disaster. six, with integrate climate change into every aspect of water planning, management and use. again, some people have already mentioned climate is water and as we change the climate, which we are doing, we are fundamentally altering water availability and quarter-- quality and distribution and demand. seven, we have to update federal water laws, the clean water act and the state drink of water act are great laws and greatly out
of date. congress needs to do that and they're advocating irresponsibility in this is other things. eighth, demand management and paternity supply are keys to this. we focused in the past on supply. traditional supply and reservoirs and the grapher us reservoirs, but there's an enormous amount we need to do and have to do and partly are doing on demand management and marianne will talk a lot about this, i imagine, but alternative supplies key also. the idea of created wastewater is critical and i would disagree a bit with ollie. all he made the contract-- comment about desalination and that's alternative supply of low on my list, but there are other things we ought to do on wastewater treatment. ninth, let's integrate us while her policy with other us policy, energy policy, land is policy,
national securing policy and again, we talked of it earlier about energy, but there are a lot of things we do at the federal level that are not explicitly water, but that really are and that we don't integrate. 10th, corporate water stewardship, the corporate sector has a huge role to play here and maybe we can come back to this as well. i know you are interested in this, john and many others are. it's a key part of the future water is figuring out how to move towards sustainability. finally, environmental justice. we have failed grossly in this country at integrating environment of justice issues into water and flint is a good example. the report that was waved around this morning, that sick report on flint, which came out yesterday which i read part of care included-- concluded one of the most fundamental failures of flint with environmental justice failure. there are issues about funding, water cutoffs that was raised
this morning. the epa has a standard for how much a family onto to be willing to spend or able to spend on water bills, when and how% of your water bill and there are millions of people that probably pay more than that. there is management issues in the western us that is unresolved, since it populations to certain kinds of pollutants that have not been addressed. so, it's a list, but it gives you some sense of the broad nature of these things and the appropriate federal laws that we can bring. >> thank you. you talked about economic tools and i think you talked mainly about federal funding for local and regional if a structure, but i'm curious about the price of water. this is a question for anyone on the panel. christine boyle, one of the things you mentioned during the earlier panel was there is 52000 water utilities. i am betting most of them have
water tariffs and michael and the national association of water companies this is something you know better than anyone. my question is, if water tariffs are too low, is there something that can be done to change that? that to me seems the baseline for a lot of the challenges in underinvestment-- resulting underinvestment. and comedy one? >> i'm going to answer slightly sideways. we do need full cost pricing around water and have it done in a way that allows for baseline used for people that have the most challenges in pain. >> peter social justice. >> yes, but in some ways social justice is a lot about someone else payment cost for someone else's action and i think that that plays out in lots of ways, certainly in the flint kind away, but with water utilities throughout the country that are
having to handle agricultural runoff and community small and large have to then pay for that agricultural runoff both in terms of just quality of life in the waters that flow through their communities, but in very direct cause for having to treat that water to make it palatable. toledo, with the cyanobacteria coming from algae growth from agricultural runoff in a course des moines, the two places we have heard a lot about, but this true threat the country especially in the small poor, rural communities that are-- don't have the money to pay for that cleaning. so, i think this gets back to agricultural policies and in terms of how we cannot just put in less fertilizer on the field, we have a major opportunity for driving agricultural policies that improve soil health that allow us to not only hold onto those nutrients, use less of
them, irrigate less because the soil will hold more water, we would-- reduce flooding and on and on and on, but that is one of the ways we shift the cost and shift the action back upstream to the people that can control is of those downstream and those with wells in those communities aren't paying the price for something that they did not do. so, as we look at how we find equitable ways of paying for water, we certainly-- everyone is talking about how rates will go up and that is plain and simple. we have to do that, but we also have to look more broadly at ways for people to share the responsibility for keeping the water clean in the first place. >> marianne, does the alliance for water efficiency speak about water tariffs or economics as something that would promote more efficiency naturally? >> actually, we do think about it quite a bit because as revenues are going down for water you jew-- utilities
implement conservation programs, that hit to their revenue stream is very significant as christine mentioned earlier today. so, we developed at the alliance a way to model that helps utilities goal secret equalizing the revenue requirement of what the rate revenue is that they need to collect. and giving them options for how to restructure the rates to do that and while it sounds like it might result in very large rate increases, i might point out that the average rate increase for the average consumer in the united states is usually that the quiver of a hot dog" on a a monthly basis. in terms of dollar value, which usually not very much. in cases where it will be high this is where we need to look at the whole subject of investment and how that should work-- whether that should-- thank you -- whether that investment should be assisted by federal and state supplements, but i think the most important thing i want to say about the whole rate and water conservation issue is that utilities now don't get
finance any water efficiency programs and is for simple accounting reasons. they don't have an asset they can put up a balance sheet that matches the liability of the debt, so while we used to that finance conservation the '90s, we don't do it anymore because of this accounting problem and so it actually exacerbates the issues of revenue collection by the utility. they hefted pay for the efficiency programs upfront, out of operating funds, then they take that hit on demand reductions and all of that is at the beginning of the benefit cycle of efficiency and when the benefit kicks in in terms of reduced rate cost to the customer is five or six or seven years later, well beyond election timetable of the local official who had to approve the rate increases. so, we have a political problem with respect to rate increases. we have a financial accounting problem with respect to that and we need to solve those barriers in addition to equalizing the
impact on environmental justice communities. >> peter, you know you want to comment on that. brett, then we will come to you because i want to hear if there's a medication thing up to this as well. >> just two important points. one, we can come up as marion has suggested we can come up with great designs that meet multiple objections that are equitable that give utilities that ability to develop reserves so they can get through periods of time when revenue drops and grout. we did this in energy world. we disaggregated the ability of energy utilities to invest in conservation and efficiency. is a good example of cross sectoral learning. lets do for the water sector what we did for energy and figure out how to invest in conservation and efficiency, which is often the cheapest source of water we have. >> i actually think the notion of learning from the energy sector is the basis for much of
the white house water summit on tuesday, peter. brett, do you want to? >> yeah, just about how we talk about these things and the initial question was individual water bills and import ability to quickly got into a discussion of agricultural runoff and farm policy. so, that shows the big leap between one item that we talk about and the other end the disconnect we have any lot of the conversations we have about these topics. utility officials are not all that involved in setting agricultural farm regulations, but if you want to address affordably issue that is one of the things that will have to come into the picture. we also leapt from ad runoff into financing mechanisms, so it's a big picture and when we talk about a 4 billion infrastructure we are often talking about aging of the structure that is the headlines on the stories you read.
but, to really address this, it's a much bigger conversation and as everyone has addressed, multiple sectors, multiple players at the table that will need to talk about this. >> you know, peter, i just want to come back to one of the items in your list of 11. you mention a national water commission and i want to know, what with the jurisdiction of a national water commission be? how would it fit with what congress does her epa or the apartment interior and also how would states deal with this because any times the words national and water are said to the same sense i think states get very nervous. >> okay, so i don't believe that a national water commission without our water problems. i do believe there has been a failure at the federal level 450 years-- four, 50 years to discuss the federal government's role in dealing with water problems and i see a national
water commission as an advisory way of dealing with what the federal government ought to do to help the states and local agencies do what we need to do better, which is provide safe, a portable, reliable water systems and part of it could be explicitly here are the things we will not talk about at the federal level because they are state and local resource abilities. there is always a tension there, but not too worried about that. >> marianne, does the alliance for water efficiency think about ways to promote greater recycling use? >> i am so glad you asked that question here. >> that's my job. >> we have been doing a lot of thinking about why on-site reuse doesn't seem to be taking hold in this country. california has had a great water standard legislative enabling legislation in place for 20 years or more, but there aren't large-scale water installations in california.
mostly because local public health officers are elected to give approval as they are not sure with the underlying treatment standards that to be and if your target about black water treatment systems, treatment systems that could wreak-- recycle all water on-site at the living machine does in san francisco public, those are always permanent on a pilot basis and not really able to be replicated on a major scale across the country. largely because we lack the national guidance for adequate treatment standards to enable this technology, which is available, which is sold by ge and others all around the world, we really would like to see better deployment of that technology and better use of it, so that we don't have to expand existing wastewater systems that cost-- that is more cost-effective to do the on-site option, so we have to deal with that national barrier policy
issues and there has to be guidance coming from the epa. that local hot-- public health officers can rely on. so, that is something that could be on the list of the national water commission to look at that. that would be very useful at a national contribution. >> land. >> right up there with it is rainwater harvest as a water supply, which is a lot easier to clean than sewage is. very few places are looking at that as potable water supply. health commissioners still get a bit wind out about that, that there is work going on to figure out those policies and figure out how that could work in a more sensible way. of the white paper that the columbia water center has put out leading up to this talks about distributed water, how we can come up with other ways to use less energy, have a lower infrastructure burden to maintain and as we look to the
decades and centuries ahead of us i think that rainwater harvest will be a critical piece of that. >> brett, it seems to me that water use and wastewater that can be reused for things like agriculture and even drinking water is one of the keys to the kingdom in addressing the water scarcity challenge we are facing. is eric medications angle? a lot of times you hear that barriers and reluctance in the part of communities to use treated wastewater for those purposes. >> >> initially, there was an image problem with the reuse of wastewater. >> should i say the phrase? >> don't. >> i might have to. >> the phrase peter does not want me to say, but i had to say because everyone knows is: toilet to tap. that's how it was branded for so long and it is a terrible reputation and got people with
the wrong images, so the industry moved away from that, but people are coming around to it and it comes back to having utility that is able to talk about this with their customers and having a presence in the community's of people in san diego have come around to the idea of water reuse after four years of objecting to it. it's on the utility and a lot of utilities are starting to bit-- do better with her comedic kaisha through twitter, facebook, to mediate outreach. there are water drops, and mask as they go out and talk to kids, so getting out there and for the people and being honest about what's happening and people will come around. >> more education and outreach. peter, did you want to comment? >> yes. so, it's time to stop calling them wastewater treatment plants and start calling them water recovery plants or something better. i'm sure someone could come up with something better.
>> euphemism. >> it's good. so, we have been talking about national policies and yet as we said at the outset a lot of the challenges we face are the local and regional level. is there-- should we be trying to engage numbers of congress at the local and regional level because they are the ones, for example, commerce and then killed the who lives in 20 michigan is someone who now i'm sure cares acutely about water policy issues. is that something that should be done, reaching out to matters of congress. >> i'm going to take the opportunity to answer this question to do my policy barrier issue. >> answer close to the microphone. >> this is better, i hope. so, my big issue, my big policy issue is we need a national commitment to water and efficient water, sustainable water use as we have a national commitment to energy efficiency and efficient and sustainable
energy use. a are the same and they are connected in such a way that the investment in the policy emphasis should be the same on both sides. so, this is a issue that congress needs to look at. is well beyond a local congressional district. it's something that is regional, state and national. i want to quote here because i think of one of the december 15 meeting you talk about a moonshot for water like the sunshine initiative and i was really taken with that because i really think that is what we need. took a look at some of the investments that have been made both in the private sector as well as the federal side. stanford woods institute for the environment get a paper in 2014, when they looked at 13 years of investment in the us, 69 billion was invested in us clean energy, but only 1.5 billion and water. that is on private side. federal spending is even worse.
federal spending in energy is substantial, at least 290 billion a year depending on how you calculated, but with energy incentives about 47 billion, but you don't have a similar investment on the federal side in water. srs or state revolving fund's dwindling in size and you don't have really any efficiency incentive. in fact, efficiency rebates and green in the structure rebates are federally taxed, so not only do we not have tax-exempt or tax credit, we tax personal individuals for doing the right thing and investing in water efficiency on the property, so at that opportunity was the stimulus bill because $787 billion should have been a big slice going to water issues. 630 some billion went to energy and climate related issues. only 12 billion to water and
only 20% of that went to efficiency in green of the structure topics. so, there is a huge disparity in investment and so that results as when a huge disparity in policy. the srs has been dwindling over time. that clean water srs is over a 30 year period has probably invested over $100 billion, but that's over 30 years. that's nothing in terms of a energy investment, so we are talking about the health of our existing of the structure in addition to expansion to how many growing populations and new sustainable water uses. we have got to figure out a better way to manage this money so it's fondled to the right places and resolved some of the water issues. so, parity is when i'm always harping on and when i get the microphone i want purity with energy. i have energy efficiency and i would like to see water efficiency as sustainable water
uses had the same federal investment level and same federal policy. >> land. >> i think one of the things we do need federal attention on this and these days post went i think we have the attention of members of congress who represent urban areas especially some of the more down and out urban areas, so i think people are lined up to add money to the pot in those areas, i think. my concern is that it will be a major-- knee-jerk reaction to send more money to build what we have already got to certainly flint has seen its badly needed and much deserved money, but if we just increase srf or just hand out federal grants, that doesn't really get us to the solutions we need to be able to be resilient for the decades to come. i think we also need to be looking to other bills, not just to money that goes specifically
to the water sector. transportation fuels with ethanol, the water that goes into ethanol has huge impact on our water system overall. investments in renewable energy. water sipping renewable energy such as solar and wind have huge impacts on our water resources. i think we also need to open our minds to what are those other slices of federal policy and funding that have big impacts on water. >> peter. >> i agree with that completely. one more example is the farm bill. the farm bill over the years has had a little bit of money for farmers to improve the water efficiency of irrigation systems. that's money has disappeared immediately. that a man for that money has been enormous. the demand reflects the need nationwide to figure out how to
grow more food with less potter. that's about efficiency argument , demand management argument. 80% of the water is consumed in the us and goes to the agricultural sector. we have not talked much about it, but it's pretty critical and we can grow a lot more food with a lot less water, but we are not funding farmers who need help to do that. >> thanks, peter. one of the ironies in california's even though there was 25% water reduction mandates for communities, agriculture continue to pump a great deal of groundwater and i think there was someone at the white house who said solving today's problem at the expense of tomorrow so there has to be some holistic way to think about this. look, we have been talking a lot about the us. lets move beyond the us poet-- borders. are there lessons we can learn around the world? i'm reminded of a few years ago in australia and i asked-- they
were implementing a direct water reuse program and i ask, how do you get people comfortable with this and that's what we are try to figure out in the us. he said we have engaged universities. we have research people. we have research people. with stakeholder meetings and communication strategies and what we have found is that it works best when we don't say anything at all. [laughter] >> are there other lessons perhaps better lessons that we can learn from what others do around the world and bread, what to start with you. have you seen anything from a communications standpoint? >> so, these challenges are not unique to the us. we see india, china, australia, mexico and water and food and energy are tied together through out the world. initially it's the information, so we have to bring people who are making decisions good information. data collection is essential. that's what australia did before could embark on its changes to
the water policy. had to know how much water was available after the big drought. how much should be allocated to the environment and how they are going to do that. the big lesson for most of these areas and peter and others can talk about some of the policy changes that came out of that and other areas, but you have to know what you have before you can do much about it. that's where a lot of the us still at that knowing what we have phase. >> maryanne. >> we do have a lot we can learn from other countries. australia has been mentioned. in fact, peters comments with specific institute worked with us for water efficiency and the institute for sustainable futures in sydney and we published a report released a couple of weeks ago on the australian experience with their millennial drought and with the lessons are that can be applied to california from that experience. so, what australia did in terms of changes to its policy and the
investments made both good and bad can be used as a constructive example for other climate read in areas. israel, of course, is a huge model for us and seth siegel recently publishes the: b water we have been following what israel has been doing for a long time and we will hold a conference in tel aviv to showcase a lot of israel's work. 80% of their water is recycled. they already are doing a lot of what we are talking about here and they have made a sizable and not only national investment, but national priority. i was at a conference once where the prime minister said we want to be the leading water technology nation in the world. that was a huge commitment coming from the top and it made me think about in the united states, we never really talk about water on a national platform.
i don't think we have had water as a discussion in a presidential campaign since 1936. we don't talk about water. it's largely a invisible issue and that's probably the one silver lining in this horrible tragedy of flint is it will daylight those issues now and we will hopefully start talking about it in a national dialogue, really for the first time. >> that is a good point and i want to say and you were there, but tuesday's white house water summit was a great step in that direction. >> huge step. >> a lot at times work that's developed here in the us, but we can't find a place to try it out here goes 20 countries and we can bring it back and i think of right here in columbia. macarthur fellow this year for his work in developing technologies for distributed sanitation and resource recovery , but for the most part
it's piloted in other countries and we could definitely use a writer and some of the rural and poor areas of this-- of our nation. so, sometimes the brains are right here. we just don't have the economic drivers of the political will or whatever to use it here. >> that's a great point, len. peter, do you want to make a comment before we open it up to the audience? >> back to the questions about lessons from other places and another great example is one of the major lessons from australia was nine years of drought, really concentrates the mind. california's now-- i have argued in our fifth year of drought. we did not get a rainy winter like we would have liked. it took australian nine years to do some of the fundamental things we have still not done in california, so crisis is a bit of a motivator. education is really important.
singapore, which has been highlighted in a number of places because of their technology, water reuse, desalination and in my opinion it's example of education and medications. they have done a tremendous job up educating a population about water. the need to use it more efficiently, water quality advantages of recycling reuse, so education is a piece of that. lies a piece of this. south africa, when they got rid of apartheid they had the opportunity to read write their water laws and when they rewrote their constitution they put in our constitution a human right to water up your before the un declared a human right to water and also wrote into their constitution eight ecosystem might water, which was legal precedent in my opinion. so, there are lots of international examples and no one is doing it all right. but, the lessons we can learn from looking at other places are sometimes incredibly important. >> do we have questions from the
audience? >> with a few questions from the audience. >> multiple audience members inquired about water in the agricultural sector, so how can we incentivize water conservation, soil health and runoff reduction in agriculture and what are possible policy options? >> lynn. >> sometimes i think we have to get out of the way because there are some fairly well-publicized examples-- i don't know if anyone has seen this video soil carbon cowboys where there's a great line in there and it's working with ranchers who have been trying out multi- species
cover crops as a way to feed their cattle that they are raising. they are regular old ranchers, nothing fancy about these guys and they are all guys and one of them said and part of me if this is offensive to anyone, but one of them said if i had known about this years ago, i would have 12 kids by now because i have so much time on my hands because it's so much easier and cheaper to do it that way. you hear similar things from commodity crop growers who try new ways really in some ways old ways, multi- species cover crops that really enrich the soil and help give them resilience to drought, reduce their overhead, reduce the capital costs. it can be self driving, but right now all of the policies that come out from the department of agriculture and from those that advise farmers
are going in different directions, so how we kind of can stop that and there is a lot of money in the way-- money is a pretty hard thing to push against and i'm speaking of those interests that are making money off of fertilizers and herbicides in irrigation equipment and all that sort of thing. >> peter, i know you want to comment. >> it's a great question and a tough one and we don't talk about agriculture enough, but this is a good example of the federal government has a role to play and already plays a role. they had billed and operate in the central valley project in california. water from that project does it pay for even the capital cost of that project, so farmers play-- pay less for cbp water than state water and those farmers are less likely to be growing water efficient crops in a water efficient manner comes a water at the federal level is important. subsidies for crops drive choices that farmers make in
terms of what a plant as do crop prices internationally. the farm bill example i mentioned as a way to help farmers make improvements that they want to make, but can't afford to make. energy policy was also-- live and raise the that we subsidize ethanol in order to-- well, don't get me into the iowa caucus debate, but that has a water-- that has a huge water application and those are all just quick examples of things that the federal government and plays a important role in that could fundamentally change how we use water and how much we use in the agricultural sector. >> anyone else want to comment? next question. >> so, then next question is that given the crisis is a motivator, what can be done now to capitalize on public attention regarding water quantity in california and water
quality in flint? >> bread, do you want to start with that? >> crisis is a motivator, but you have to be careful to over sell the danger. crisis eventually can become offputting when people read about crisis all the time. eventually, they tune out. i think there is a huge opportunity with people's attention. people are reading more than ever. we have smart devices. we have accessed to information at our fingertips, every hour of the day, so the ability for people to see something that's important has never been greater. the importance there is major that the information is understandable, taking this white paper that has been circulated is a comprehensive look at america's water problems. but, it's 30 different directions in the human mind can only handle so much. so, taking that crisis and
breaking it down into pieces that are understandable, but also show connections between all of these concepts is something i think will start to move some action. >> maryanne. >> we have largely made our water if the structure invisible , not just because it's buried beneath the ground, but because we have spent a 30 or 40 years just not really talking to the customer about what it is they are drinking and part of that was deliberate. the drinking water industry as part of its record and what it was providing to its citizens and it didn't want consumers to worry. most managers didn't want to build up board rooms with citizens who would oversee what was going on. when i was chair of a water board my general manager told me to stop trying to invite people to the board meetings. just wanted-- white noise in the background and that only works when times are good.
when suddenly a crisis happens like in flint and the consumer has no concept of anything about that system and what its needs were or the fact that the money raised from the caucus was costing the ability to do infrastructural repairs and replacement, that citizen is not in a position, so what we need to do is a lot of baseline education and discussion, so that when the crisis hits those citizens can be informed, participants in the change and that i think is the biggest problem we have right now. there are a lot of angry people that are not well informed and they are angry. that's a problem with crisis management, but that's how we make policy. that's how we move mountains and government. so, recognizing the opportunity that the crisis presents and a creative opportunity it can present is what we need to take advantage of. >> one of the things that there
is a lot of very low-level conversations happening about right now has to do with the social institutions that pushback and that are watchdogs on water. ever since the clean water act we have had the clean water act has a provision that citizens have standing to protect and enforce those clean water act loss. as a result, we have a whole industry of citizen groups that can and will push back-- we won't call them the wastewater treatment world, but the resource recovery facilities is the term that the industry is using now. when they feel that the clean water act is being violated and it's not fun for the industry to get that kind of push back, but that is what has moved us along and has kept the process honest and transparent. on the drinking water side, we
do not have those social institutions in place, which is it took citizens in flint to kind of keep pushing and pushing and pushing, but these were people who were different individuals, not organizations, so in the ngo world and community organizing world right now there is a lot of kind of, what do we do, the existing water groups have not really put their head around drinking water. they have ignored it because it's been so safe and we are realizing, gosh, how do we incorporate that into the work we do, so i think there will be -- there needs to be and there will be a shift in our institutions and one of the really, i think, exciting pieces of that is i think this will be and i'm a hopeful person, this will be what finally gets us to take water out of the canoe paddling environment world in
which i live into a much more integrated conversation that represents america as a whole and i think that's a pretty exciting opportunity. >> i think we have time for one more question. >> pick a good one. >> so, considering that states hold the responsibility to implement national policy at the local level, how can we overcome disparity between states that do this well versus those who are are not doing so well? >> citizen advocates. >> that is good. anyone else want to take a crack at this? >> i was going to say the vote, which is the same thing. >> i was talking to someone-- i was doing a project around lead and water and what should be invested in and to stuff and
when i called scott brian whom you might know, his gig's innovation and start of technology, but what he said first off in terms of where the investment needs to be is democracy. he said every foundation should be getting 5%-- at least 5% of their granting to democracy. that's what's going to keep our water safe. >> peter. >> to elaborate a little. again, there is a federal role in oversight. this came up in flint, also. epa has a oversight role that maybe they did not play as well as they should have. we have federal law. we don't have 50 state water quality loss. we have federal water quality loss because we don't want her to be disparities to different communities because some states might be weaker than others in developing those standards. so, there is again federal role
in our would argue updating the safe drinking water act and expanding hugely the numbers and types of chemicals that are regulated in our drinking water and then helping the states meet their responsibilities in meeting those standards. >> okay. i think what i'm going to do is ask each of you if you have any final thoughts you would like to share with the audience and then i will just make a wrapping upcomment. ..
>> i'm going to take my last opportunity here to indicate weimer policy that i would like to see in that place up what christine said earlier. we links a much wider in this country there's no at years for not making it a requirement that water systems applying for federal money need to demonstrate control programs. that's something we can easily do. >> release lost water. >> reiterates something that if we see in the white paper that columbia water center has produced and i think is so important. we've got a lot of changes and challenges ahead and as we
address them, it is really important that we do so in the context of climate change in social equity. we have a great opportunity ahead of us to do that. let's not solve today's problems but yesterday's to allergies. we've got new opportunities ahead it did not social equity peter. >> i agree with that. one of the ways i like to describe it as a 19th century infrastructure in and 20 century institutions and 20% water problems. we need to build 21st century infrastructure and institutions to deal with the 20th century problems we failed to solve and the new problems we are adding my climate change. >> take a new approach. so look, i want to wrap up by saint thank you so much for hosting this event. it's a great honor to be here. i learn from you every time i see you.
i just want to say thank you for kicking off the week organizing world water week. it was so glad to launch this process and then look with interest for the result. thank you very much. [applause] >> the direction to take the most aggressive approach to policymaking is little ground when that becomes the first primary goal of the item, when the policy in that direction rather than any consideration of any collegiality or any attempt
to bring or develop coming you end up with a scenario when there is little interest in bringing my opinion on board and you'll find i'm less likely to be in support of an express my views. >> recently our campaign 2016 bus made a visit to pennsylvania during its primary stockinette at city college, slippery rock university, washington and jefferson college and harrisburg area community college for students and local officials learned about her road to the white house coverage and online interactive resources covering the campaign trails.net c-span.org. visitors were able to share thoughts about the upcoming election.
>> coming out, look at social welfare programs for members of the military. programs are available, how effective they are and whether they should be privatized. the applied at 4:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the federal reserve has changed since its creation in 1913. earlier conversation about the evolution of the senate and his current role. live coverage today at 5:30 a.m. eastern on espn. -- c-span. free-speech advocates talk about university standards for contentious political speech and hate speech. hosted by the university of miami, this is an hour and 10 minute period >> hello. we've got a great panel for you.
we have susan cruz who has a background in short film and documentary and she decided to go to law school to study the ways that can't do to chin protects filmmakers. she did a free-speech fellowship at the center for the protection of free expression. she's also have some other very cool civil rights internships including transgender legal defense and education fund as well as the aclu lgbt and aids project and currently she is at the foundation for individual rights in education. professor kerry brian melear or kb as i was told earlier is professor of higher education at the university of mississippi. his areas of expertise are college and university law, finance, public policy. he is a member of all kinds of things. he's on the honors committee of vice education my reporter. a review editor come