Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University organized the Considering the Clean Water Act conference in Racine, Wisc. Hosted by The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, 30 water experts from across the nation met and discussed key issues preventing the achievement of the Clean Water Act (CWA) goals first established nearly forty years ago. A full conference report is now available with a summary of these discussions and details about potential solutions and next steps.
"As we approach the fortieth anniversary of the first Earth Day, I have both pride in our accomplishments under the Clean Water Act but also frustration with ongoing challenges that may not be addressed well under the current law," said WEF President Paul Freedman. "Despite being landmark legislation in the 1970s that led to significant achievements, the Clean Water Act is now a twentieth century tool trying to address twenty-first century problems. As a nation, we must re-examine how to better address water quality issues to meet our current and future needs."
Conference participants began by recognizing past successes of the CWA as well as the shortcomings and limitations of the existing law, followed by a focused discussion on viable potential solutions and key considerations in moving forward. Some ideas that emerged from this event included market-based solutions such as water pollution trading, adopting a more targeted and holistic watershed approach, implementing a new generation of technology-based controls for both point and nonpoint sources, utilizing integrated water management, reasonable assurance for nonpoint source implementation, and the need for adequate funding.
The workshop concluded with the broad identification of four reform options, including updating the CWA to improve existing tools; expanding the CWA beyond traditional applications; updating other relevant statutory mechanisms to better address water quality; and creating new legal or regulatory tools to target nonpoint sources or integrated watershed restoration and management.
The conference report will also be available as part of a new online discussion forum announced earlier this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For a two-week period, EPA is seeking public input on how the nation can better manage some of its most significant water pollution problems. This feedback will help shape the discussion at EPA's upcoming conference in April—Coming Together for Clean Water—where they will engage approximately 100 executive and local level water leads on the agency's clean water agenda.
EPA is seeking input from water professionals, advocates, and anyone interested in water quality issues about best solutions—from planning, scientific tools, low impact development, to green infrastructure and beyond—in controlling water pollution and how resources can be better focused to improve these efforts. To join the discussion, visit http://blog.epa.gov/waterforum/. For more information about the CWA, visit http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/lcwa.html.
Formed in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF and its Member Associations proudly work to achieve our mission of preserving and enhancing the global water environment. For more information, visit www.wef.org
About The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University
The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University is a nonpartisan institute founded in 2005 to help decision makers in government, the private sector, and the nonprofit community address critical environmental challenges. The Institute responds to the demand for high-quality and timely data and acts as an "honest broker" in policy debates by convening and fostering open, ongoing dialogue between stakeholders on all sides of the issues and providing policy-relevant analysis based on academic research. The Institute's leadership and staff leverage the broad expertise of Duke University as well as public and private partners worldwide. Since its inception, the Institute has earned a distinguished reputation for its innovative approach to developing multilateral, nonpartisan, and economically viable solutions to pressing environmental challenges.For more information,visit http://nicholas.duke.edu/institute/
About The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread
The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is a family foundation based in southeastern Wisconsin. For more than 50 years it has hosted solution-focused conferences on leading public policy issues. It is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for innovative public and private solution in two spheres – one global and one regional – that reflect the Johnson Family's longstanding passions: healthy environments and healthy local communities. The Foundation embraces its founding family's passion for the environment and community, which is reflected in its generational legacy of exceptional corporate responsibility. For more information, visit www.johnsonfdn.org.
SOURCE: Water Environment Federation