American Rivers Experts to Outline 21st Century Vision for Water in Series of Talks

American Rivers experts to give five presentations in November and December

November 11th, 2008

Amy Kober, American Rivers, 206-213-0330 x23

Washington, DC — With the nation’s sewer systems, pipes, and levees outdated and crumbling, and with global warming threatening communities with more floods, droughts and waterborne diseases, American Rivers experts will outline a 21st century vision for water at a series of talks in November and December.

Our country is fast approaching a crisis point when it comes to clean water. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded the nation’s dams a D, and wastewater and drinking water systems a D-, the lowest grades of any infrastructure category.  At the same time, we continue to lose crucial elements of our natural systems the streams, wetlands, forests, and floodplains that filter clean water and provide flood protection.

“We are at a crossroads today in how we manage our water,” said Betsy Otto, vice president for strategic partnerships at American Rivers.  “We must use this transformational moment to move from outdated 19th Century infrastructure to 21st Century green infrastructure. The time is now to make long-lasting economic investments, create good jobs that respond to the new, green economy, and meet the water challenges facing us in this century.”

American Rivers experts will make presentations at the following upcoming conferences:

November 14: Institute for Business and Home Safety Annual Conference in Tampa, FL
Title: “Flood Losses: A Comprehensive Approach to Reduction”

Andrew Fahlund will participate on a flood policy panel, speaking on natural approaches to flood management, the new Administration and Congress, and proposed policy reforms with emphasis on the National Flood Insurance Program and the need to do more to protect natural infrastructure and ecosystems and keep people out of harm’s way.

November 17: Big City Planning Directors Institute, co-sponsored by Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, American Planning Association, and Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, MA
Title:  “Rethinking Water: Sustainable Infrastructure for the 21st Century”

Betsy Otto will speak on water infrastructure issues to planning directors from 25 of the largest U.S. cities.

November 17: An America 2050 Forum, a national initiative to develop an infrastructure strategy for America’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainability, in Chicago, IL
Title: “Rebuilding and Renewing America: Infrastructure Choices in the Great Lakes Mega-region”

Katherine Baer will participate in a water panel, speaking on American Rivers’ vision for green approaches to water infrastructure.

November 19: U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Water Summit in Palm Beach, FL
Title:  “Strategies for Managing Water in a Changing Climate”

Betsy Otto will speak on 21st century strategies for responding to global warming in water management.

December 3-4: Hurricane Science for Safety Leadership Forum in Orlando, FL

Andrew Fahlund will present.


American Rivers has called on Congress to make green infrastructure a key component of any economic stimulus bill. Green approaches to clean drinking water, wastewater management, and flood protection are proven, effective, and are cheaper than traditional approaches like dams, levees and underground stormwater tunnels. Unlike their concrete cousins, green approaches provide many benefits that go well beyond their primary purposes and save money, protect environmental quality, and enhance quality of life.

Green strategies create good high-paying jobs in many sectors, including plumbing, landscaping, building, and design. Green infrastructure also supports supply chains and the jobs connected with manufacturing of materials, including roof membranes, water efficient appliances, rain barrels, and permeable pavement.

“It is time for a new approach to water,” said Otto. “We need a 21st century approach that integrates green infrastructure and helps ensure community safety and security.” 


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About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.