Photo by Tom Ring.
Much of the water resources infrastructure in Washington State is aging or outdated. Many existing assets are currently in need of either renovation or replacement. Additionally, new infrastructure and management frameworks are needed to respond to climate change, population growth, and existing or new land uses. In the past dams, culverts, levees, and other infrastructure were planned and constructed with consideration of only a few management goals such as water delivery, flood control, or hydropower. Many projects benefited from a combination of abundant federal coffers in the post-war economic boom and lenient environmental requirements, allowing new projects to move rapidly from conceptual design stages to construction.
Times have changed. The application of the Endangered Species Act, the recognition of Tribal Treaty Rights, increased public demand for recreational opportunities, and requirements for aesthetic flows have added a host of new management priorities. Federal funding for large infrastructure programs is scarce. State and local budgets are squeezed from all sides, but still make up more than 90-percent of public sector spending on public infrastructure projects. New and renovated infrastructure projects are expected to meet multiple, frequently conflicting objectives that require creative engineering and management solutions.
This year's AWRA-WA conference focuses on the issues surrounding water resources infrastructure at all stages of planning and implementation. Project managers and key stakeholders will discuss the challenges they have encountered, as well as successes, and lessons learned. Discussion topics will include engineering solutions, public involvement, and political collaboration strategies such as integrated planning frameworks.
A reception will follow with an opportunity to meet and mingle among water resource professionals of the highest caliber, and the opportunity to enjoy a variety of hors d’oeuvres and select beverages.