Wednesday, March 27

9:00 AM


Registration opens at 8:30am for those participating in morning programs

  • University of Texas Alternative Water Sources Tour

    Join University of Texas Sustainability Director Jim Walker for a walking tour to learn about UT’s extensive alternative water management strategies, including an innovative campus cooling system that recovers and reuses foundational groundwater, rainwater and even air condensate to cool buildings in the hot Texas sun. Using onsite, localized tech, UT saves more than 100 million gallons of potable water each year—over 30% of the water used on campus. (Meet in lobby area outside of Salon C, wear comfortable walking shoes)

  • Water 101 Workshop

    Join the WaterNow team and some of our friends in the field for a water crash course specifically designed for elected leaders. This interactive workshop will cover water law, hydrology, alternative water sources, and local water financing. Experts will showcase best practices for communicating the value of water to your constituents and share tips for working effectively with utility staff. No questions are bad questions; water is complex, and we'll give you the confidence you need to take the lead on your city's water challenges.  (Located in Salon C)

  • Community Water Fund Workshop - presented by The Nature Conservancy

    Join the Nature Conservancy for a hands-on workshop to explore the potential for creating collaborative and solutions-oriented approaches to source water protection in your communities and around the world by establishing a Water Fund.  While a few lucky municipalities have fully-protected source watersheds, most rely on source watersheds that feature a wide variety of human activities that impact water quality. Water Funds are a source water protection approach that combines multi-stakeholder collaboration and financing at watershed scales to protect source water through watershed restoration, reforestation, forest protection, wildfire prevention, smart agriculture, and other strategies. To date, the Nature Conservancy has catalyzed and supported the development of 35 water funds across the US and globally, collectively generating more than $500m in public and private funding for source water protection actions. In this workshop, Nature Conservancy staff, partners and workshop participants will collectively bring their expertise and ideas to bear through presentations and facilitated small-group discussions focused on specific challenges. Participants will take away a greater understanding of the Water Fund approach and the tools and resources available for developing a water fund in their own community. (Located in Conference Room 301)

10:45 AM

registration opens + Lunch - sponsored by Public finance authority

11:30 AM

Welcome to Tap into Resilience

  • Welcome, Kathie Tovo, Councilmember, Austin, TX

  • Video Welcome to Tap Into Resilience, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, Chair, Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee

12:00 PM

Tap Into Connections: the waternow World café

Engage with decision makers, thought leaders, and innovators in the water space, and learn about WaterNow’s new Tap Into Resilience initiative and how it can benefit you and your community.

2:00 PM

The Future of Water Infrastructure

Every day, it seems like a new water challenge is making national headlines. Communities across the country are in uncharted territory and facing the growing effects of inadequate and aging infrastructure. It’s time for a water transformation. This session will bring together national thought leaders in water management, policy and government to explore the next wave of strategies for addressing these challenges at scale and building resilient communities. Together, we will write the next chapter in our water future.


  • Moderator: Felicia Marcus, California State Water Resources Control Board

  • Cooper Martin, National League of Cities

  • Ann Bartuska, Resources for the Future

  • Ted Heniflin, Hampton Roads Sanitation District

  • Kirsten Evans, The Nature Conservancy

3:15 pm

Break - sponsored by Flume

3:30 PM

30 Ideas in 30 MInutes to reform your communication practices

Leading utility communication experts, the H2Duo, share their ever-evolving set of communication best practices for local leaders. Pulling from lessons learned from their conversations with thought leaders and experts, both inside and outside the water industry, they offer insight and tools for summit attendees to better speak to their constituents and create more impact in their communities.


  • Stephanie Zavala & Arianne Shipley, Rogue Water and Water In Real Life Podcast

4:00 PM


Texas faces extreme water events. From disastrous flooding to severe droughts, Texas sees it all. This panel of Texas water experts will explore recent developments within the Lone Star State and highlight the rippling rewards provided by localized infrastructure investment. Speakers will also share details surrounding the City of Austin’s new Water Forward Program and the extraordinary collaboration that created it.


  • Sarah Rountree Schlessinger, Texas Water Foundation (Moderator)

  • Sharlene Leurig, Texas Water Trade

  • Jennifer Walker, National Wildlife Federation, Texas

  • Prof. Robert Mace, Meadows Center for Water, Texas State Univ.

  • Kevin Crittendon, Austin Water

5:00 PM

Pure Water Brew Happy Hour

Join us for sustainable beer made from 100% pure recycled water! The Pure Water Brewing Alliance is a collaboration of utilities, brewers, engineering firms, and technology companies. They’ll help close out Day 1 of Tap into Resilience by sharing their story over a few cold ones.


  • Patrick Dube, Water Environment Federation

6:00 PM

Impact Awards Reception & Dinner - sponsored by Raftelis

Come cheers with your fellow water warriors and honor the 2019 WaterNow Impact Award winners, announced at this dinner reception. Our Impact Awards recognize champions who have gone above and beyond to make a meaningful impact in their community on water challenges. The evening offers the chance the unwind and network with a sea of leaders for inspiration on your next water initiative. (Reception begins at 6pm, Dinner served at 7pm)

The Iron Cactus
606 Trinity Street,
Austin, TX78701

Thursday, March 28

8:00 AM

Registration Opens


Welcome and Keynote Address

  • Melissa Elliott, Raftelis and President-Elect, AWWA



There is an emerging consensus that public water resource agencies and their communities require significantly increased capital investment to address current water challenges and build resilience in the face of climate change. This session will explore the role of capital in the public water space, in particular how innovative financing can be used effectively to scale up adoption of localized, onsite water solutions; the role of impact investing and philanthropy in risk shifting; and other creative arrangements becoming available to help communities move toward sustainable water strategies while keeping water affordable, equitable, and accessible to all.


  • Ed Harrington, Government Finance Officers Association (Moderator)

  • Eric Letsinger, Quantified Ventures

  • Hank Habicht, US Water Partnerships

  • Tom Entsminger, Texas Water Development Board

  • Peiffer Brandt, Raftelis

10:15 am

morning break - sponsored by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

10:30 AM

Public Utility Success Stories: leading the infrastructure transformation

Everyone has the courage to go 2nd or 3rd. But pioneers are crucial for proving out new strategies. WaterNow is exploring utility success in addressing water resource management challenges with “One Water,” decentralized innovations. This interactive session will spotlight communities from around the nation that have taken the leap with unconventional approaches and have experienced on-the-ground success worth bragging about.


  • Mary Kelly, Culp & Kelly LLP (Moderator)

  • Caroline Koch, WaterNow Alliance

  • Karen Guz, San Antonio Water Systems, TX

  • Kevin Shafer, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, WI

  • Jaimie Galayda, Tucson Water, AZ

  • Andrew Erdmann, City of Santa Fe, NM

  • Jeff Odefey, American Rivers

11:45 AM

Lunch - Sponsored by rachio

12:35 pm

Breakout SessioNS:


    Localized water tech, including things like smart irrigation systems, conservation software, leak detection and more, has the potential to play a significant role in water management – if we can figure out to implement it at scale. At this session, attendees will develop a better understanding of how emerging water management technologies can improve their ability to meet their community’s sustainable water management goals. 


    • Will Sarni, The Water Foundry (Moderator)

    • Chris Klein, Rachio & Chris Thompson, Public Works Director, Spanish Fork, UT

    • Erik Andersen, WaterSmart Software

    • Eric Adler, Flume Technologies

    • Michael Murphy, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center


    Managing flood risks and stormwater runoff is a growing challenge in American communities. This session will highlight green infrastructure success stories and innovations in stormwater management technology. The session will demonstrate opportunities to address stormwater challenges while keeping water rates affordable and providing new community benefits.


    • Colin Wellenkamp, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (Moderator)

    • Paula Connolly, Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange

    • Nicole Beck, 2nd Nature

    • Seth Brown, Storm and Stream Solutions, LLC

1:45 PM

Breakout Sessions:

  • EXPANDING YOUR SUPPLY: The ONSITE REUSE Revolution is here - Rm 301

    From drought in the West to flooding in the Southeast, communities across the U.S. are looking to address water scarcity and increase resilience with onsite non-potable water reuse systems. For the last few years, a National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems has been working to foster a policy environment, and develop model standards and local rules to make it easier for utilities to support wider adoption of reuse systems locally and ensure health and safety. This panel, including some members of the Blue Ribbon Commission, will make the case for treating graywater, black water, stormwater, and rainwater runoff with onsite reuse technologies in all corners of the U.S.


    • Katy Lackey, US Water Alliance (Moderator)

    • Josina Morita, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

    • Zach Gallagher, Natural Systems Utilities

    • Juan Ontiveros, Utilities, Energy and Facilities Management, University of Texas Austin

    • Prof. Sybil Sharvelle, Colorado State University

  • Land use and water: breaking through the silos - Salon C

    Water and land use planning are often siloed, an issue that creates roadblocks for water leaders trying to solve resource management challenges. This session will showcase efforts to rewrite this narrative as community leaders work across departments to support local economic growth with sustainable, healthy, and reliable water resource management. Attendees will come away with actionable steps to facilitate cross-department collaboration at home as well as tools and resources to implement smart, localized water and land use planning strategies in their communities.


    • Anne Castle, Getches Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment (Moderator)

    • Chris Sturm, Policy and Water, New Jersey Future

    • Danielle Dolan, Local Government Commission

    • John Berggren, Western Resource Advocates

    • Jennifer Walker, National Wildlife Federation, Texas


afternoon break - sponsored by Hazen and Sawyer

2:55 PM


Environmental philanthropy has been funding charitable organizations to address natural resource protection concerns for decades, but their focus on urban water management specifically has been increasing in recent years. Now more than ever, grantmakers are engaged in equity and access issues, green infrastructure, water use efficiency, urban water quality and more. In this session, leading grantmakers will describe opportunities for urban water resource utilities and share their visions, priorities and strategies. Learn how to tap into a better water future together.


  • Cynthia Koehler, WaterNow Alliance (Moderator)

  • Joya Banerjee, SD Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

  • Margaret Bowman, Spring Point Partners LLC

  • Diane Schrauth, Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities

  • Emily Warren, Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation

4:00 pm

Closing & What Happens on Monday

4:30 pm

End of Summit

Past Events

WaterNow Alliance has hosted four incredible summits around the country, from Tempe, AZ to Orange County, CA, Boulder, CO to Salt Lake City, UT. Below you can find a collection of reports covering our two most recent events, highlighting key insights from the presentations, discussions and engagement that took place. We share key take-aways from our incredible speakers, eye-opening perspectives and what our fellow water leaders are thinking about. Additionally, we explore topics that have been important priorities for WaterNow throughout the past three years – from scaling up investment in distributed infrastructure to big data to local project implementation. 

Click the links below to learn more -

March 28-29, 2018

April 20-21, 2017