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New President and CAO of Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Posted on March 27, 2017
The Board of Directors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) is pleased to announce the selection of John Dickert as the organization's next president and chief administrative officer. Dickert will succeed David Ullrich, who will step down from his position this summer as executive director after fourteen years and will continue as a senior advisor to the Cities Initiative.  Currently serving as the Mayor of Racine, Wisconsin, Dickert brings decades of experience in local, state and federal government relations, strategy, fundraising, and coalition building. "The work of the Cities Initiative [...]

Actor Kevin Costner Backed Smart Membrane, Water Planet

Posted on March 23, 2017
In 2009, famed actor and environmentalist Kevin Costner and Eric Hoek, then a professor of engineering at UCLA, developed a system aimed at cleaning up oil & gas contaminated water. In 2010, this system was put to a different kind of test when it was used to clean up the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout this process, Costner and Hoek forged a partnership that continues to this day with Water Planet, Inc., a Los Angeles-based company that sells smart membrane products. A year after the BP spill, Hoek and his colleague Subir Bhattarcharjee, now Water Planet’s Chief Technology Officer, co-founded the company, with [...]

Closing U.S. Water Infrastructure Gap Could Generate $220B

Posted on March 22, 2017
The Value of Water Campaign, supported by founding member Water Environment Federation (WEF), has released a new report that found closing the investment gap in U.S. water infrastructure would create 1.3 million jobs and generate $220 billion in economic activity. The analysis also found a severe economic cost to inaction. At a national level, a one-day disruption in water service can lead to a loss of $43.5 billion in sales and $22.5 billion in GDP. At the local level, industries most reliant on water would see sales drop by up to 75 percent due to a one-day disruption in service. The report, The Economic Benefits of Investing [...]

New Research Suggests Water Scarcity Measurement Flawed

Posted on March 22, 2017
New research from the University College London suggests that current metrics used to determine the global water crisis might not accurately reflect scarcity and sufficiency. The research, led by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and UCL Geography, targets the evolution of methodologies over the last thirty years as inaccurate. The researchers point to the development of holistic measurements from threshold indicator, arguing that the threshold for water scarcity is context-specific and based on an industrialized country in a semi-arid region. Courtesy, University College London, Damkjaer, and Taylor. Other areas of [...]

OMERS & Kuwaiti Consortium Purchase Stake in Thames Water

Posted on March 15, 2017
Borealis Infrastructure, the infrastructure investment manager for OMERS, which is the pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees, has formed a consortium with a Kuwaiti investment firm to purchase a stake in Britain’s Thames Water. The Canadian and Kuwaiti consortium purchased their stakes in the Thames from Australia’s Macquarie Group, which has held its investment in the Thames for 11 years. OMERS and the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) are purchasing a 26 per cent stake in Kemble Water Holdings, which is the holding company for Thames Water. As Water Canada reported in an October feature on pension fund investment [...]

Wastewater from Urbanization & Energy Driving Valves Market

Posted on March 14, 2017
A market report from Transparency Market Research has indicated that continued global urbanization will drive demand for wastewater treatment applications, specifically in the valves market. The report noted that the global valves market features a highly fragmented and competitive landscape, with none of the top five vendors—Emerson Electric Co., Pentair Plc, Cameron International, Flowserve Corporation, and GE Oil & Gas—capturing more than 5 per cent of the overall market in 2015. Collectively, these companies had a nearly 10 per cent stake in the highly competitive global valves market. In an effort to gain market advantage [...]

Risk Reduction Summit Tackles Regional Climate Change Preparedness

Posted on March 10, 2017
The Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas (RP17) concluded this week, which focused on regional policies for preventing natural and human-induced hazards, such as those exacerbated by climate change like flood, drought, and wildfire. At RP17, delegates gathered to approve a Regional Action Plan (RAP) to meet the United Nations (UN) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030 commitments. RP17 came after a year that has thrown the spotlight squarely on risk in the Americas in the wake of events such as Louisiana’s catastrophic 2016 flooding, the Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, which [...]

The Worst Droughts Travel, According to a New Study

Posted on March 9, 2017
Steinbeck was right. A new study has found that some droughts can travel hundreds of kilometres from their point of origin and that once a drought reaches a threshold of intensity, conditions will worsen before improving. The study, published March 4th in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, was conducted in collaboration between researchers working the U.S. and Austria. They modeled individual drought events between 1979 and 2009 and tracked their evolution in both space and time. Past drought research, according to the authors, has largely focused on the evolution of droughts over time in a fixed region or how a drought of [...]

Great Lakes Mayors Troubled by U.S. Budget Cuts

Posted on March 7, 2017
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative), a coalition of mayors from over 125 cities across the basin representing over 17 million people, expressed deep concern over draft White House budget cuts that would reduce funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97 per cent from $300 million to $10 million and for the EPA by 25 per cent. The mayors work closely with state, provincial, federal, tribal, first nation, and non-government representatives from across the basin to protect, restore, and sustain one of the largest freshwater resources in the world. Current vice-chair of the Cities Initiative [...]

Great Lakes Commission on Binational Infrastructure Priorities

Posted on March 3, 2017
On March 2nd, the binational Great Lakes Commission (GLC) called for U.S. and Canadian leadership to rebuild and modernize aging water infrastructure in the Great Lakes region. Detailed recommendations to both governments argue for investments in infrastructure that continue to provide safe drinking water to more than 48 million people, transports 200 million tons of freight each year, and supports a $5 trillion economy in the eight-state, two-province Great Lakes region. The majority of U.S. water systems are between 50 and 150 years old, and costs to maintain and update them are projected to rise steeply if action is deferred [...]
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