An Historic First for Water

Karen Kubik, WEF Board member

Karen Kubik, WEF Board member

By Karen Kubick
Posted to WEF Blog March 30, 2016

This is the first time in San Francisco history that a prime minister has planned a visit to our City by the Bay for a focused day of discussion about water and wastewater management challenges and opportunities. I am thrilled that San Francisco will be the location to officially inaugurate the Water Technology Alliance, a collaboration on water and water technologies between California and Denmark.

I met Claus Homann of Aarhus Water when we both joined WEF as new board trustees in September 2015.  Since that time, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and Aarhus Water have been sharing information and lessons learned on water, wastewater, energy and climate change through face-to-face meetings in San Francisco.

Aarhus Water has achieved a one-water approach through leadership and organizational cultural change. This is the direction in the Utility of the Future program, which looks at watershed-based planning and wastewater treatment plants as resource recovery facilities, with a focus on products and benefits of treatment rather than waste.

San Francisco has always maintained a trajectory to be on the cutting edge, and the SFPUC has devoted resources to developing tools to ensure that our wastewater system is planned and implemented in a sustainable manner. Our customized triple bottom line analyzes greenhouse gases, potable water use, stormwater capture, green energy generation and net energy use; our watershed approach considers all city policies and objectives — neighborhood cultures, traffic and bicycle safety, habitat, recreational space, historic creeks and marshes, and other geographic specific elements such as water use and groundwater recharge; and we have studied and modeled climate change and analyzed storm surge, and are among the first to develop climate change design guidelines to protect our vulnerable assets.

I am looking forward to sharing San Francisco’s story with our colleagues from Denmark, and learning more about their one water approach at the WATER/MORE FOR LESS program on April 4. This type of in-person cultural knowledge exchange, while rare, allows the world’s most sustainable practices to be shared and implemented across the globe so we can achieve more together.

WEF members are invited to WATER/MORE FOR LESS: For additional information, click here.

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Megan Barillo

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One comment on “An Historic First for Water

  1. Fantastic story of partnership. This is the reault of great leadership by Ms Karen Kubick. Keep up this amazing work.

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