December 2 Starts Webinar Series on New USGS Nutrient Management Tool

On Friday, December 2, 2011 from 2:00pm to 3:00 pm (eastern), the USGS will conduct the first in a series of webinars on its six newly-developed regional SPARROW models and online decision support tool.  This first webinar will provide an overview of how the tool can be used to:  prioritize areas for nutrient reduction actions; identify which sources contribute the largest amounts of nutrients to downstream waters; and evaluate combinations of nutrient reduction scenarios.

To register for the December 2nd webinar, go to: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/941521630.

USGS plans to conduct additional webinars between November 30 and December 8 on using the regional models for specific areas of the country – Southeast (11/30), Upper Midwest—Upper Mississippi/Great Lakes (12/5), Lower Midwest—Lower Mississippi/Texas Gulf (12/6), Pacific Northwest (12/7), and Missouri River (12/8).  

For a schedule of the USGS webinars on the regional SPARROW water-quality models and decision support system, go to the USGS web site at: http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/sparrow/mrb/SPARROW-WEBINARS.pdf.

AWWA’s March 2012 Sustainable Water Management Conference

Registration is now open for AWWA’s Sustainable Water Management Conference that will be held in Portland, Oregon on March 18 -21, 2012 (the week after ASDWA’s Member Meeting).  This conference is geared toward professionals involved in all aspects of water resources and conservation.

This year’s focus is on water resources integration.  The agenda will include technical presentations with in-depth discussions on legal, regulatory, and legislative matters facing water utilities today.  The conference will also address a wide range of topics concerning sustainable water management, including managing water resources and the environment, water conservation, sustainable utilities and infrastructure, urban planning and design, and community sustainability.

For more information and to register, visit AWWA’s web site.

New Forest Service Maps Link Healthy Drinking Water to Healthy Forests

The U.S. Forest Service has published a comprehensive series of interactive maps that illustrate the crucial role forests play in sustaining watersheds and protecting drinking water.  These maps entitled, “Forests to Faucets” help identify where watersheds are threatened by development, fire, insects and disease and where a payment for watershed services project may be an option for financing conservation on forest lands.  Watersheds on national forests and grasslands are the source of 20 percent of the nation’s water supply, and the cost of treating drinking water increases 20 percent for every 10 percent loss of forest land in a watershed.

For more information and to view the maps visit the Forests to Faucets web site.

NACD Publishes Article by National Source Water Collaborative Members

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) has published a guest column article by National Source Water Collaborative (SWC) Members in its fall magazine titled, “The Resource,” that reaches thousands of readers.  This is one of several activities that National SWC members worked on with NACD to foster coordination efforts and promote source water protection activities at the local level with Conservation Districts across the nation.  For example, NACD coordination efforts have already started in the Salmon Falls Watershed where a new local collaborative has formed.  State drinking water programs are encouraged to take advantage of potential opportunities for engagement with state and local conservation district offices, and consider developing state or local collaboratives with them and other water and agriculture stakeholders.

Visit NACD’s web site to read the SWC article at:  http://nacdnet.org/news/publications/resource/TheResource_Fall11.pdf.

 

December 1 EPA Webcast on Reducing Water Utility Energy Use

EPA is offering the first Energy Management Series Webcast on Reducing Operating Costs with Energy Use Assessments and Auditing on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm (eastern). This webcast will focus on two key elements of energy management for utilities: 1) determining how much energy a utility is using in each part of its operation; and 2) conducting an energy audit to identify specific opportunities for greater efficiency and expected cost savings. Information on various assessment and audit tools will be provided, including those geared specifically to small and medium sized utilities.

For more information on the webcasts, including how to register, please visit: http://cfpub2.epa.gov/npdes/outreach.cfm?program_id=0&otype=1.

White House Releases Two Climate Change Documents

On October 31, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released a two new reports as follows.

The first report entitled, “Federal Actions for a Climate Resilient Nation: Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force,” outlines the Federal Government’s progress in expanding and strengthening the Nation’s capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to extreme events and other climate change impacts.  This report, produced by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, provides an update on actions in key areas of Federal adaptation, including: building resilience in local communities, safeguarding critical natural resources such as freshwater, and providing accessible climate information and tools to help decision-makers manage climate risks. Click here to read the full 2011 report.

Based in part on listening sessions and public outreach events with a wide range of stakeholders, the report highlights the progress toward implementing those recommendations.  This report follows the Task Force’s October 2010 Progress Report to the President that recommended the Federal Government strengthen the Nation’s capacity to better understand and manage climate-related risks.

The second report is the final version of the “National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate.”  which was published in draft on June 2, 2011 for public review and comment.  This final Plan will be the foundation for Federal agency efforts to manage freshwater resources as the climate changes.  It is designed to help freshwater resource managers assure adequate water supplies, safeguard water quality and aquatic ecosystems, and protect human life, health and property.

Click here to read the full Managing Freshwater Action Plan.

The Task Force will provide an update on Federal adaptation progress in March 2014, following the release of the 2013 National Climate Assessment Synthesis Report.

EPA Climate Ready Tool Training Webinars

EPA is providing Training Webinars for the Water Sector on the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool.  The Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) supports water sector utilities in conducting climate related risk assessments, evaluating adaptation options, and understanding climate threats.  EPA is currently delivering a nine-webinar series of training materials for CREAT that will continue through November 15 including: CREAT 101, an introduction to the tool; CREAT 201, an overview of setup steps and climate science information within the tool; and CREAT 202, an overview of the analysis and reporting functions within the tool.  These training webinars provide water sector utilities with a detailed understanding of how climate change may impact utility facilities and operations, encouraging wider adoption of climate related risk assessments and adaptation plans.

To register for the webinars online, visit: https://www.thetestportal.com/CREAT. You can also download the tool on the Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) web page at: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/

EPA to Host NPDAT Tool Training Webinar on November 30

On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm (eastern), EPA’s Watershed Academy will host its 61st free webinar entitled, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus Webinar Series: Tools for Developing State Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Reduction Strategies.”  This webinar is designed to help states and others understand key tools they can use to combat this serious and growing environmental problem.  The webinar will demonstrate two new tools that states can use to develop state nutrient pollution reduction strategies:  EPA’s new N and P Pollution Data Access Tool (NPDAT); and USGS’s new, interactive SPARROW Decision Support System (DSS).  By the time of the webinar, EPA also expects to have cumulative drinking water intake location information inputted into the NPDAT program for users to help integrate potential source water protection considerations.

 

For more information and to register for the webinar, visit EPA’s web site at:  http://water.epa.gov/learn/training/wacademy/webcasts_index.cfm.

 

EPA Releases Final Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan

Yesterday, (November 4th), EPA announced its final research plan on hydraulic fracturing (HF). This study is being conducted at the request of Congress to better understand potential impacts of HF on drinking water resources.  To develop this study plan, EPA held a series of public meetings to receive input from states, industry, environmental and public health groups, and individual citizens. The Science Advisory Board (SAB) also reviewed the draft study plan to ensure that it follows a scientifically sound approach.  EPA expects to publish an interim report of results in 2012 and a final report in 2014. EPA also plans to be transparent throughout the study process and release periodic updates for all interested stakeholders.

EPA is working with the U.S. Department of Energy, USGS, states, and other stakeholders to conduct five retrospective and two prospective case studies in various locations across the nation.  The study will investigate the full cycle of water in the hydraulic fracturing process from the acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the management of flowback and produced water, as well as its ultimate treatment and disposal.  EPA, with support from the SAB, has already begun to undertake some of the study activities including collecting voluntary information from well drilling companies on: chemicals used in the drilling process; standard operating procedures; and water quality data from both gas well owners and operators and private well owners.

Separate from the study, EPA is using existing authorities under the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts to:  address issues with HF wastewater disposal, treatment, and effluent; and developing guidance to assist UIC permit writers where diesel fuels are added to hydraulic fracturing fluids.

For more information about the study as well as EPA’s HF efforts in this area more broadly, visit EPA’s web site at: www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing.