Photo by Justin Wilkens on Unsplash

It’s time for an approach to water stewardship that will move the needle on a scale that matters

In the past 10 years corporations have stepped up in unprecedented ways as stewards of water. But to date they’ve primarily taken a “within-the-four-walls” approach, prioritizing typical corporate responsibility outreach and internal efficiency gains. And in cases when companies do move water stewardship efforts beyond their four walls, the work translates into what my colleague Jon Radke at Coca-Cola calls “random acts of kindness” that depend on shovel-ready projects. These projects are very important steps — but alone they will never matter strategically to a company. …

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Future H2O-B is helping build a tool to measure wastewater impacts from the global to the facility level

Each year 1.2 trillion gallons of industrial waste, sewage, and stormwater are dumped, untreated, into U.S. waters — and a meaningful percentage comes from corporations. CEOs have taken notice and are making moves to address industrial wastewater pollution as a fundamental threat to business sustainability and the health of communities and our planet. What these leaders need now: better tools to understand their wastewater impacts on scales ranging from the global to the facility.

Now Future H2O-B, in partnership with the The Earth Genome and the Catalan Institute for Water Research (the project lead), has the opportunity to change that…

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Existing ag decision making tools won’t cut it. Future H2O will work on new analytics and mesoscale weather prediction capabilities.

Every year, from May to September, toxic nutrients from fertilizer enter the Mississippi River watershed and wash downstream to the Gulf of Mexico, feeding the second largest hypoxic (or “dead”) zone in the world. More than 235,000 tons of fish and other marine life is lost to hypoxia in the Gulf annually.

In short, the Gulf dead zone is a major problem — for marine health, human health, and local fishing economies. And climate change is making these dead zones worse. Increasing, rapid bursts of rainfall, especially after long periods of drought, are pushing even more nitrates from fertilizer into…

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It’s time for a new narrative around water infrastructure that’s above politics

Why do we need a comprehensive overhaul of water infrastructure in the United States? Just look at these facts:

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Delivering Science to Future-Proof Your Water Resources

I’m thrilled to announce the public launch of Future H2O B, a B-corp with the goal of providing top-shelf science nimbly and robustly to clients who are looking to future-proof their water resources.

What do I mean by “future-proof their water resources”? Proactively design green or natural infrastructure in ways that help that client overcome variation with high and low flows.

Future H2O B will work with some of the biggest international companies whose footprints impact water or depend on water.

It will also work with some of the biggest irrigation districts in the United States.

And it will also…

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It’s the promise of a new technology train invented by scientists at ASU and other universities.

Managing animal waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is a worldwide challenge.

Splitting water to make hydrogen without using solar (which is too intermittent) or worse, fossil fuels like coal to power the split — another global challenge.

What if combining these challenges could solve them both — a totally green process that generates renewable energy, all without any discharge?

That’s the promise of a new technology train invented by scientists at three US universities including ASU — one that should be containerized and ready for customer view in 18 months.

The technology train turns highly concentrated animal waste…

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It’s time we think about constructing nature — not just restoring it.

Why is this good time to take stock of what we know and still need to know about green infrastructure?

  • Built infrastructure is failing, both worldwide and in the United States. (See my piece last year on the Michigan dam failure.)
  • This trend will only worsen in the face of widening flood-and-drought extremes driven by climate change.
  • There are many starry eyes in the environmental community about the ability of natural infrastructure to step in as a replacement for built infrastructure. …

Credit: Simon Berger on Unsplash.

We must start the year off with the right questions — not predictions — if we’re serious about creating water abundance in the U.S. and abroad

If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that predictions aren’t helpful. Instead, I’m starting 2021 off by sharing with you the big water-related questions I think we need to focus on this year to jump-start water solutions and opportunities to create water abundance in the U.S. and abroad.

1. How will the Biden administration’s 2021 China policy impact the opportunity for data sharing across all the countries of the Mekong, whose economies depend on the river?

Optimizing the Mekong for all the countries that depend on it for food and energy will require China to share its data about the river’s…

Credit: Rachel Towne. Used through a Creative Commons license.

We must address our daunting equity issues for water & sanitation at home — and take advantage of the massive opportunities to create water abundance here and abroad.

The incoming Biden administration will be facing a plethora of challenges next January. But two challenges that cannot drop off its to-do list are 1) addressing equity issues for water and sanitation in the United States, which impact millions of people, and 2) cultivating some of the massive opportunities we have to create water abundance both here and abroad.

Below: My six priorities for the Biden administration in tackling the equity and abundance challenges.

Equity: Priorities

1) The Pandemic & Urban Water Access

What’s the problem?
Many cities face water equity gaps between their richest and poorest areas — gaps that are…

Photo by Adam Maloney on Unsplash

It’s not about infrastructure. It’s about our ability to manage cost of access.

The number of people in the United States without water access is the equivalent of a large metro area. Imagine if a U.S. city that size lost water access for its entire population. It would be a national scandal, worthy of immediate attention.

So the U.S. water access problem is a national scandal, worthy of our immediate attention.

When we think about U.S. water access issues, we usually think rural — about the rural poor on reservations, in the colonias, in the rural South, in Alaska, in Hawaii. We need federally focused dollars and a research center to address this…

John Sabo

Director, Arizona State’s Future H2O

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