Top Tweets from American Water Summit, Chicago, 2012

American Water Summit Chicago 2012Key question at the conference is embedded in theme ”Business Models of the Future”: How do we advance the state of water? #aws2012

Bob Bailey, CH2M Hill, opened water conference with observation that the future is closer to now than ever before. #aws2012

Bob Bailey, CH2M Hill, explained the challenges of water industry that’s complex, fragmented and slow to react. #aws2012

Bob Bailey listed clear enablers for change in water industry: first is programmatic approach to efficiency. #aws2012

Bob Bailey listed clear enablers for change in water industry: second is technology integration. #aws2012

Bob Bailey listed clear enablers for change in water industry: third is aligning customers, politicians and business practices. #aws2012

Bob Bailey listed clear enablers for change in water industry: awareness of water as a primary balance sheet asset and risk. #aws2012

Bob Bailey listed clear enablers for change in water industry: fifth is that crisis drives change. #aws2012

Bob Bailey listed clear enablers for change in water industry: last but not least is heroic acts of leadership. #aws2012

Tom Powers, Water Commissioner of Chicago: Chicago dropped consumption 20% over last 10 years in the city and 125 suburbs. #aws2012

Tom Powers: Chicago raised rates 25% then 15% then tied to CPI and then increased sewer rates to get revenues for repair. #aws2012

Tom Powers: Chicago saved $3.2 million by creating apprentice and seasonal contracts to build in-house workforce. #aws2012

Tom Powers: success factor for Chicago was better coordination among departments, agencies and elected officials. #aws2012

Tom Powers: Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better solution? #aws2012

Tom Powers: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, ”Some places have their oil. We have our water.”#aws2012

Barbara Bennett, EPA’s CFO, pointed to econ benefits of regulation and standards that pave way for innovation and job creation. #aws2012

Bennett: EPA Tech Innovation Roadmap goal ties science to policy initiatives–R&D, public sector outreach & regulatory processes. #aws2012

Bennett: Gallup poll reports that 75% Americans worry great deal or very much about water pollution. #aws2012

Quick poll about whether the public can understand how increased regulation will boost business overall came out pessimistic. #aws2012

Gretchen McClain, Xylem, now is time to talk about water. Opportunities are extraordinary. Use critical moment to build momentum. #aws2012

McClain reported primary research results of a nationwide poll about what should be done about water problems. #aws2012

Xylem poll showed 80% recognize water is an issue and feel personal responsibility– 60% willing to pay more for water each month. #aws2012

McClain: Solve water issues by educating public and raising Water IQ to trigger awareness of water as a precious resource. #aws2012

McClain: Industry needs to come together with one voice to raise public awareness and engagement. #aws2012

McClain: Consumers who see a vision of infrastructure of future will support increased investment to spur innovation. #aws2012

McClain: The cost of raising awareness is high, but the cost of not doing anything is higher in long run. #aws2012

Dr. Upmanu Lall, Columbia Water Center, reported on trends from AWWA Water Utility Surveys on water rates and demographic factors. #aws2012

Dr. Lall encouraged collaborative thinking and highlighted the need for collective thinking and action. #aws2012

Dan McCarthy, water industry executive, introduced panel on how new styles of PPP create effective business models for future. #aws2012

McCarthy: Need to demystify business models and assess if are they hitting the mark to encourage adoption. #aws2012

McCarthy: Need to capitalize on successes of PPP, not dwell on challenges found in any business model. #aws2012

McCarthy: Partnerships need to be better understood…how do we make them purposeful partnerships? #aws2012

McCarthy: Purposeful partnerships require clearly defined goals and objectives. #aws2012

McCarthy: Purposeful partnerships develop and maintain an open relationship, assign risk appropriately and offer win/win rewards. #aws

Moira Geer, City of Winnipeg, partnered with Veolia for capital/operational advice on solving nutrient probs for Lake Winnipeg. #aws2012

Laurent Auguste, Veoila, PPP connects stars differently and creates new constellations. It’s about how you connect. #aws2012

Auguste: we need to move beyond traditional routes like consulting approach or transfer of risk/transfer of control. #aws2012

Auguste: Paradigm shift is to recognize it’s not about cost but about value, which is a new perspective in the interaction. #aws2012

Auguste: Water isn’t only a local issue. We need to connect people and best practices to move forward. #aws2012

Chuck Clark, Cascade Water Alliance, presented a sample scenario risk matrix to promote transparency. #aws2012

Clark: We face a lack of branding convincing value proposition, understanding and meeting of customers’ needs. #aws2012

Dan Nobel, Noble Resources Group, addressed the efficiencies of integrated utilities for water, organics and bioenergy.#aws2012

Debra Coy, Svanda & Coy Consulting, pondered why, as it should be a fab time for infrastructure borrowing, are cities so cautious. #aws2012

Quick poll showed nearly half of audience thinks we haven’t done a good job connecting innovative finance with innovative water projects. #aws2012

John Hanula, CH2M Hill: We need to hit the gas pedal on spending as cost to fix it later could be prohibitive. #aws2012

Hanula: GE’s Jon Freedman says billions of dollars in capital sitting on sidelines but there’s a lack of well-articulated projects. #aws2012

Hanula outlined solutions of necessity and presented two recent banner projects. #aws2012

Roma Cristia-Plant, California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, issues low-cost loans on behalf of someone else. #aws2012

Cristia-Plant administers California’s State Revolving Funds for water and wastewater, two of 14 other infrastructure projects. #aws2012

Cristia-Plant: Leveraging attracts private capital into public infrastructure, and Build America Bonds attracted pension funds. #aws2012

Joseph Baumann, Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority, history of deferment makes it difficult to attract interest, finance and talent. #aws2012

Baumann: With 40-year concession agreement, KKR provided equity, &BMUA/United Water highlighted by Clinton Initiative.#aws2012

Edward Fanter, BMO Capital, pointed out one benefit of an innovative finance structure is expedited procurement. #aws2012

Thad Wilson, M3 Capital Partners, reported 180 unlisted funds raised $110 billion in funds over last 5 years. #aws2012

Ben Grumbles, U.S. Water Alliance, reminded roundtable participants that with fracking, the solution to pollution is not dilution. #aws2012

Jay Famiglietti, Univ. of Calif., talked about his work on satellite data and making hydrologic models more reliable. #aws2012

Geoff Gage, McKinsey&Co., presented their win-win business model working with Veolia in a JV for NY DEP. #aws2012

Lisa Sparrow, Utilities Inc., recently saw $3-4 trillion gap in infrastructure is leading indicator that we’re falling even further behind. #aws2012

Gretchen McClain, Xylem: With technology, expertise and talent in this room, we have the resources to solve water issues. #aws2012

McClain: We need to be out there talking about the issues with a common voice. It helps put good jobs back to work. #aws2012

McClain: We need to have the leadership to talk and act decisively about solving water issues. #aws2012

Bertrand Camus, United Water: Looking at the stagnation, I will quote ”It’s the economy, Stupid” #aws2012

Camus: If you move to performance-based models, you also need to talk about costs and make sure total costs are affordable. #aws2012

Alan Krause, MWH: There are 55k drinking water systems in US and 30 wastewater systems in US so fertile opportunities. #aws2012

Krause: UK is moving to contractor-led procurement. #aws2012

Krause: PPP works in transportation but it’s hard for us to get tolling rights. #aws2012

Krause: an opportunity for us is integrated catchment management, which will save treatment costs. #aws2012

Jeff Sterba, American Water: Still surprised at inside focus of associations rather than influencing external constituents #aws2012

Sterba: Over the last year, I’ve been pleased at collaboration of associations and industry on value of water #aws2012

Sterba: What you think is achievable is really 2-4x greater than what you expect. #aws2012

Sterba: Biggest concern is rate of change in price, not absolute value–that’s what gets consumers’ and regulators’ attention. #aws2012

Sterba: Three most important questions are is it adding value, is it an efficient process and how do we drive error rates to zero? #aws2012

Sterba: We say that for every O&M dollar we save, we can invest six dollars in infrastructure #aws2012

Jes Munk Hansen, Grundfos: We can’t afford to replace all pipes and wells so make the technology we have smart and efficient. #aws2012

Hansen: In discussions here, I’m missing the focus on demand side as we can learn from places that reduce consumption. #aws2012

Hansen: There’s a basic lack of awareness of what exists and what’s available. Labeling and standardization will help our industry. #aws2012

McClain: We think about cycle of water, not as a fragmented industry. We need to speak with one voice. #aws2012

Hansen: Water is about competitiveness and overall prosperity. We need to be more aggressive in our approach to raising awareness. #aws2012

Krause: The smaller cities aren’t too big to fail and some already are. The crisis is upon us and we don’t know it. #aws2012

Sterba: We are too protective of performance data. We need the openness and transparency of other industries. #aws2012

McClain: Engineers love a problem, and we have a problem. We need to attract young engineers into the industry. #aws2012

Quick poll showed growth story most inspiring was Jeff Sterba’s efficiency improvement story. #aws2012

Quick poll showed most important message to convey with one voice is ”Water is Valuable–Invest in It!” #aws2012

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