Philadelphia Water Hosts Roundtable At WHYY



Peak Johnson, for GPA -- As part of Infrastructure Week 2015, Philadelphia Water joined together with American Water, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and the Value of Water Coalition for a roundtable discussion on the state of water infrastructure and innovative investments in regional water systems at WHYY studios in Philadelphia (150 N. Sixth St.).

The conversation covered a number of ways that water investments are moving Philadelphia and the region forward and how water infrastructure in the region compares to projects and strategies in other regions across the country.

The moderator for the event was Radhika Fox, Director of the Value of Water Coalition. Panelists included Beverly Coleman, Assistant Vice President for Community Relations and Economic Development at Temple University; Howard Neukrug, Commissioner of Philadelphia Water; Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow of Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program; Aldie Warnock, Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Communications and Public Policy at American Water; and Steven Wray, Executive Director of Economy League of Greater Philadelphia

Each panelist discussed their opinions on Philadelphia’s infrastructure and the inner workings of the city’s water system.

“When we first organized this event in Philly, it was infrastructure week and we wanted to really highlight the good work that was happening with infrastructure,” Fox said. “But I think the truth is that the nation’s infrastructure has been neglected for too long and it’s a challenge. That’s why we’ve come together this week, around infrastructure week. To really educate the nation about the crisis point that we’re at, but also about the tremendous work that is happening.”

Those in attendance were able to gather a little knowledge about what companies, such as Philadelphia Water, American Water and Temple University are planning to do in terms of future plans to combat Philadelphia’s aging infrastructure and water system.

“We think the importance of stormwater treatment will be important to Temple in the future,” Coleman said. “Temple took up a landscape master plan called Verdant Temple and it’s just about completed. One of the key components of Verdant Temple is to talk about stormwater management. At the same time that this plan is being completed, the water department completed a plan for stormwater management engagement districts. Both of our plans call for a central green campus.”

The truth today in America is that most people take water for granted, Fox added. After working around the clock for decades to serve growing communities, Philadelphia’s water infrastructure is aging and in need of investment.

“They turn on their tap and they get clean water; they flush their toilets and the water goes away. Those people don’t really think about or see the 1.5 billion in water and pipes that we have.” 

Image courtesy of PhillyWatersheds.