All the water we will ever have we have right now, thus our world must survive on a finite resource. Yet the demand for water is not finite.

Water scarcity challenges in the Western U.S., flooding in the Northeast and aging infrastructure across the country are just some of the key causes of rising pressure on U.S. water utilities. Attention to these issues and more, and the way water utilities respond to these challenges are the focus of Black & Veatch’s 2015 Strategic Directions: U.S. Water Industry report. 

This report shows how water utilities are taking steps to prepare themselves for both short-term system shocks and long-term sustainability. But many organizations tell us they lack the capital to do anything more than get by with what they have.

It also contains in-depth analysis of new water treatment and energy efficiency technologies that will be essential to meeting these goals. Global case studies and perspectives from the finance and risk sectors round out an examination of the myriad inputs that make up resilience planning for the water industry.

The report concludes with an argument for collaboration between water utilities and the communities they serve as they seek to create opportunities for sustainable planning and water utility management.

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Hurricane Sandy served as an inflection point in the resilience discussion. The drought across California and much of the Southwest is having similar effects on public awareness of water scarcity issues. Water utilities are increasingly aware that achieving resilience – fiscal soundness, a diverse array of assets and the flexibility to respond and recover from system shocks and stresses — is at the top of the to-do list. 

Smart Water
The adoption of technologies that enable water utilities to collaborate with their communities will enable them to become a larger part of the smart city conversation.  Some are embracing the notion of progress but actual implementation lags. Communication, cost-recovery, and planning challenges are barriers to water utility engagement in smart city initiatives. Learn more about how water utilities can join the smart city conversation. 

Strategic Resilience: Design-Build Gains Ground
Design-build strategies are rapidly becoming the method of choice for major projects. This change from the traditional model where separate contracts for construction, design, and procurement services existed on the same project streamlines delivery and mitigates risks. Learn more about how utilities are implementing design-build for capital-intensive projects. 

Overcoming the conflict between conservation and financing needed infrastructure investments will require water utilities to explore new ways of meeting revenue goals. Some are exploring fixed pricing for services while others are looking to collaborate with non-utility actors. Learn how utilities are approaching changes to their business model. 

Operational Resilience: Sustainability 
Utilities are under pressure to mitigate climate, infrastructure, and sustainability challenges under increased pressure and scrutiny from regulators and consumers. Sustainability and resource recovery are primary drivers as water utilities adopt new technologies and methods to address environment and regulator concerns. Learn more about how advanced treatment processes that combine efficiency and energy recovery position utilities to streamline operations and reduce costs. 

Operational Resilience: Technology & Efficiency 
Increasing operational efficiency may be the key to managing energy costs for water utilities. New equipment technologies and leadership buy-in will create opportunities for utilities to shore up capital during times of uncertain and declining revenue and demand. Learn more about how innovation and new technology can help utilities achieve their long-term goals. 

Global Perspective: Water Lessons from Asia 
Governance of water varies throughout Asia. Yet, the challenges facing its increasingly urbanized societies are common. Increases in population, insufficient land space, climate change, security risks and cost controls are familiar pressures across many Asian cities. Learn more on how Asian utilities are maximizing innovation per square inch and prioritizing and managing capital spends. 

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