One Water Summit 2019 September 18-20 in Austin, Texas

One Water Summit 2019 brought together 1,000 changemakers to forge partnerships and craft solutions to our nation’s most pressing water challenges. Attendees came from over 200 cities and towns across 40 states, and as part of 44 Delegations. 92 percent of attendees feel better equipped to advance One Water at home after attending the Summit.

"After attending One Water Summit, I am able to better communicate with the variety of stakeholders involved in the One Water movement and have the tools I need to promote it across all platforms and groups." – Summit Attendee

Texas’ One Water Journey: Setting the Stage

“I am full of hope. In this room, we have all the knowledge and all the relationships to transform the water landscape in America. Now is the time to move forward together.” – Radhika Fox, CEO, US Water Alliance

One Water Summit 2019 began by spotlighting the capacity for positive transformation and the progress already being made towards a One Water future. The first day of workshops kicked off with a warm welcome from US Water Alliance CEO Radhika Fox and Austin Mayor Steve Alder, followed by a moderated discussion of how One Water leaders in Texas have embraced a spirit of collaboration while honoring a culture of independence and resilience.

Mayor Steve Adler
From left: Scott Tong, Kathleen Jackson, Emily Warren, Earthea Nance, Spencer Cronk

Finding the "We" in Water

Friday’s opening plenary asked speakers – and attendees – to think about how we can align for One Water impact. The session challenged the narrative of water as zero-sum or us-versus-them and demonstrated that cross-sector collaboration is essential to building and sustaining solutions.

“When we manage water in a relational way, everyone has a stake. Solutions are flawed if everyone isn’t at the table.” – Brenda Coley, Co-Executive Director, Milwaukee Water Commons
“More than community engagement, we need structures for community ownership over decisions.” – Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO, Seattle Public Utilities

From left: Charles Fishman, Brenda Coley, Radhika Fox, David Beckman, Mami Hara

One Water Delegations: Advancing One Water Implementation

The 44 One Water Delegations who attended the Summit are breaking down silos and are pushing for an inclusive water future. At the heart of the One Water Delegations is peer learning and cross-sector collaboration, and 83 percent of Summit attendees indicated benefiting from participation in a Delegation.

Hearing from a broad array of constituents and water leaders from across the country was very valuable to gather ideas and strategies for more effective work." – Summit Attendee

Water Equity Taskforce: Building a More Equitable Water Future

Comprised of Learning Team from seven cities across the US, the Water Equity Taskforce is dedicated to developing more equitable water policies and practices. At One Water Summit the full Taskforce convened to share their experiences and learn from each other’s successes.

Water equity is the future of water.” – Earthea Nance, Associate Professor, Texas Southern University
Seven City Water Equity Taskforce

Institutes and Site Visits: Spotlighting One Water Innovations

One Water Summit offers attendees a diversity of opportunities to dig deep into critical issues and promising solutions. Summit institutes and site visits are designed to develop practical knowledge and provide hands-on experience and 81 percent of attendees shared that they learned new ways of implementing One Water policies or practices at One Water Summit.

Thanks to One Water Summit, I learned new ways to use advanced modeling to target watershed restoration strategies, and I learned practical strategies to engage more deeply with diverse communities." – Summit Attendee

A packed room listens to a panel of utility leaders, local government officials, and community organizers at the Climate Resilience, Urban Flooding, and Equity Institute.

Ted Henifin, General Manger of Hampton Roads Sanitation District, addresses the One Water Council as new Council Chair at the One Water Council Strategy Institute.

Kevin Anderson of Austin Water leads a tour of the Hornsby Bend Plant on the Energy, Ecology, and Education: One Water in Biosolids Management Site Visit.

The University of Texas at Austin hosts a tour of the school's facilities for the Campus Water Stewardship: Landscape Design and Water Reuse for Energy Efficiency Site Visit.

Summit attendees explore the Edwards Aquifer caves during the Surface-Aquifer Caves and Native Plants: Water Conservation at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Site Visit.

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and the Indigenous Cultures Institute co-host the Environmental Stewardship and Indigenous Wisdom at San Marcos Spring Site Visit.

US Water Prize: Recognizing Outstanding Achievement in One Water Management

The US Water Prize celebrates outstanding achievement in the advancement of sustainable, integrated, and inclusive solutions to our nation’s water challenges. Awarded this year at One Water Summit, the Water Prize is the preeminent national recognition program for exemplary efforts to secure a sustainable water future for all. Six prizes are awarded annually in the following categories: Cross-Sector Partnership, Public Sector, Private Sector, Nonprofit Organization, Journalism, and Public Official.

From top left: Camden SMART Initiative, City of Cedar Rapids, Greenprint Partners, EJ Water Cooperative, American Public Media Great Lakes Team, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti

Water Bar & Beyond: Integrating Arts and Culture into Water Management

Water and culture are types of infrastructure that make communities sustainable.” – Tracie Hall, Director, Culture Program, Joyce Foundation

The Water Bar showcased how fostering community engagement and embracing culture can bring people together towards a sustainable water future.

ArtPlace America led an interactive workshop on developing artistic strategies for problem solving and artist Ernesto Hernandez Ramirez invited attendees to contribute their own experience to his "Giver of Life" installation.

Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson led Summit attendees in an Anishinawbe tobacco ceremony to show love, respect, and gratitude for water.

Building Connections and New Relationships

At lunches, sessions, and receptions, attendees discovered areas of alignment and discussed shared goals, with 71 percent sharing that they will follow up with someone they interacted with at One Water Summit.

“Relationships are infrastructure.” – David Beckman, President, Pisces Foundation
“It takes a village to run a water utility. We need to recognize that and establish new relationships. And then we need to maintain those relationships.” – Cathy Bailey, Executive Director, Greater Cincinnati Water Works
As I have at past One Water Summits, this year I made some great connections that I literally wouldn't have made at any other event this year." – Summit Attendee

Delegation Commitment Ceremony: Setting Priorities for the Future

A hallmark of One Water Summit is the sparking of energy and excitement that lasts much longer than the end of the final plenary. At the closing Commitment to Action Ceremony, 27 Delegations showcased what they accomplished in the past year and what they determined to be critical areas for actionable change in their own communities – bringing the spirit of the Summit from the heart of Texas to home.

“We’ve prided ourselves as being out of sight and out of mind, but now we need to be showcasing the incredible environmental work our utilities are doing.” – OJ McFoy, General Manager, Buffalo Sewer Authority

Showcasing Water through the Power of Song

Friday's closing plenary included musical interludes from Benny Starr and Dana Falconberry and the Summit culminated with a celebratory song from the band Mariachi Amor.

Thank you for being a part of the One Water movement and we hope to see you at One Water Summit 2021!

Wisconsin Secretary of Natural Resources Preston Cole, along with Delegates from across the state, announce the location of One Water Summit 2020.

And thank you to all the One Water Summit 2019 sponsors who helped make our time in Austin such a big success!