Federal Water Tap, October 1: Obama Administration Discusses Green Infrastructure

On September 20, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency hosted a conference to talk about the latest craze in urban development: green infrastructure.

Among those participating were government officials, utility leaders, investors, businesses, and environmental organizations. Katherine Baer, director of the clean water program for American Rivers, spoke at the meeting. She mentions a few of the topics covered, including financing, policy development and best practices, in a blog post.

Value of Water
A day earlier at an EPA workshop, a representative from CH2M Hill, an engineering firm, presented a paper on the value of water to the industrial sector. It is one of seven papers developed for an EPA assessment of the value of water to the U.S. economy. A report that summarizes the papers and workshops and recommends future research will be available later this year.

Global Water Security
On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York City, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the need to cooperate on water issues.

“Here at the UN,” she said, “we have to work in our continuing efforts to ensure no child dies of a water-related disease and certainly no war is ever fought over water.” She mentioned a new U.S. water partnership program that was launched during World Water Week in March.

State of the River
A 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is healthier than it has been in ages, according to a status report from the Friends of the Mississippi River and the National Park Service, which manages the river segment as a national recreation area.

Fish, mussels and bald eagles are doing well, and water quality has improved in general. There are, however, several areas of concern: nitrate, phosphorous, and sediment pollution; invasive species, such as the Asian carp; well-known contaminants, like PCBs and mercury, that limit fish consumption for humans; and newer pollutants that come from items in the medicine cabinet or on the bathroom shelf.

Water Rights Negotiations
On October 3, the Flathead Nation and the U.S. and Montana governments will begin a negotiating session to work on a water rights deal, according to Char-Koosta News, the Flathead Nation’s news agency. The parties are working against a June 30, 2013 deadline for a settlement.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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