Miami and Denver – Addressing Climate in Very Different Water Environments

miami+denver1What makes the 2015 International Water & Climate Forum different from its successful predecessor, the 2010 Climate Change Impacts on Water: An International Adaptation Forum? This year’s Forum will shift the focus from policy discussions to the reality of what’s happening at urban water, wastewater and stormwater systems around the globe.To obtain that on-the-ground intelligence, the Forum is inviting many of the recognized trailblazers in climate adaptation and mitigation at water utilities throughout the world to speak. Just recently, Doug Yoder, deputy director of Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, and Jim Lochhead, Denver Water’s CEO and manager, committed to present their utilities’ forward-looking programs to deal with climate impacts. Both systems are among the largest in the U.S., and they face very different changes and challenges.

Doug Yoder will speak on the topic of communicating climate change. He will provide insights and examples of how the department is working to adapt to the impacts of climate change while communicating with customers, elected officials and other stakeholders about the need for and benefits of adaptation. And this is in a state where state environment officials have been banned from using the terms climate change or global warming in official communications and reports!

Jim Lochhead will present a case study on how Denver Water is implementing adaptation measures. The utility participates in regional and national collaborations with water utilities, scientists and researchers and works with the Front Range Climate Change group to develop useful climate models. In addition, Denver Water incorporates climate change into its long-range water planning, customer conservation programs, supply diversification, greenhouse gas reductions and other initiatives.

These two extraordinary water executives are valuable additions to our program, bringing their perspectives and experience from two very different climactic regions.

Photo credits:  Captain Tucker (Miami) and Matt Wright (Denver).