waterloop: exploring solutions

waterloop: exploring solutions

A podcast helping water leaders to discover solutions and drive change. waterloop is for people who work in water management, such as utilities, government, universities, engineering firms, technology companies, nonprofits, and NGOs. The podcast helps listeners to become more knowledgeable leaders, creators of change in communities, and builders of a sustainable and equitable water future. waterloop is hosted by Travis Loop, who brings two decades of experience in journalism and water communications, including at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Episodes

January 22, 2023

How can the affordability of water bills be properly addressed without consistent and comprehensive data?


New Jersey decided to get a clearer look at the situation. A state law now requires all water utilities to report on a monthly and zip-code basis affordability metrics including rates, customer bills, water usage, arrears, shutoffs, and tax liens sold on homes for non-payment.


The law is discussed in this episode with Larry Le...

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Nonprofit media outlet waterloop is expanding its coverage of solutions to today’s critical water challenges, including features on lessons learned from PFAS pollution in North Carolina’s Cape Fear River, options for funding the removal of lead service lines to protect drinking water, and visits with people leading change in disadvantaged communities. In this episode, waterloop founder Travis Loop discusses the expansion and also s...

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How does someone develop the mentality of a mentor and create opportunities for others? For Tim Alston it started in high school, when the people selected for a leadership program didn’t reflect the diversity of the student population. That sparked Tim to start a mentorship program for younger students of color in the local community and launched him on the path of helping others to enter STEM education and occupations.


In this epi...

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During the last century, large engineering projects were used to control water resources. But in many ways, that man-made infrastructure is failing to meet challenges in the 21st century such as drought, flooding, pollution, and population growth.


How can a pivot back to nature provide more sustainable solutions for water management?


The nature-based approach is discussed in this episode with Sandra Postel, the author of Repl...

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November 14, 2022

In an increasingly thirsty world, there is much potential in desalination, the process of removing salt from seawater. But desalination has historically posed challenges - it consumes massive amounts of expensive energy, produces a waste called brine, and raises concerns about impacts on aquatic life.


So how is desalination becoming more of an option for the creation of freshwater?


That question is answered in this episode with Pete...

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In a recent poll, U.S. voters overwhelmingly agreed that water is a human right, clean waterways are important, and infrastructure investments are critical. While those results are encouraging, the real value of polls are in how they can be used to test language, create messages, and influence policy.


That work is discussed in this episode with Nicole Lampe of Water Hub, Yasmin Zaerpoor of PolicyLink, and Jenifer Collins of the Nat...

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P3 involves a public agency partnering with a private entity on a project. A twist on the traditional public-private partnership puts the community first and focuses on its challenges and opportunities.


This approach works particularly well with green infrastructure, as discussed in this episode with Dominique Lueckenhoff, a former water official for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a Senior Fellow at the US Water Allia...

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2022 is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which fundamentally changed regulation and management of water resources in the U.S. The Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual was created to help people understand and use the law to reduce pollution. The tool is discussed in this episode with Katherine Baer, Vice President of River Programs at the River Network, and Matt Rota, Senior Policy Director at Healthy Gulf. Katherine and Matt...

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Algae blooms that pollute waterways, produce toxins, and cause dead zones are one of the most widespread and challenging environmental problems in the U.S. Nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural land is the leading fuel for the algae blooms, but efforts to reduce the nutrient pollution from farms have largely been unsuccessful.


In this episode, Dr. Donald Boesch, President Emeritus of the University of Maryland Center for Environ...

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Problems of environmental justice and water equity haven’t historically received proper coverage by traditional media. And if they did get in the news, chances are the reporter didn’t look like the impacted population. That’s changing in Baltimore and around the Chesapeake Bay, where a nonprofit is helping young people in communities of color to tell their stories. The Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative is discussed in thi...

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Despite the direct and often disproportionate impacts of water problems on Latinos in California, there was historically a lack of water knowledge and advocacy by the leaders in their communities. That led to the creation of an organization to educate and motivate Latino local elected officials across the state. This level of government is the closest to the people and the solutions, as discussed in this episode with Victor Griego,...

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Thousands of water utilities across the U.S. are smaller and under-resourced, often leaving them consumed by daily operations and unable to take on projects to increase efficiency and reduce costs. But external experts can help these utilities to triage pressing challenges and then turn to strategic improvements, as discussed in this episode with George Hawkins, CEO and Founder of Moonshot Missions.


George talks about bringing his ...

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Traveling presents the opportunity to make observations about many aspects of the world including about water. In this episode, waterloop host Travis Loop discusses his summer trip to Germany and a variety of ways that water caught his attention in cities such as Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Munich. Topics include public refill stations, bottled water in restaurants, the presence of green roofs, and river surfing.


waterloop is sponsore...

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Artificial intelligence has emerged as a powerful tool in the fight to find lead water lines in the U.S., which could number up to 10 million and pose a threat to human health. The use of AI allows for much more accurate predictions of the location of lead lines by using a variety of factors such as the age of a house, size of the property, and prevalence in the area.


This approach has helped cities like Newark, Detroit, and Tole...

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Many of the one million people in California who lack access to safe and reliable drinking water are Latino agricultural workers living in small communities throughout the state’s Central Valley. Despite agriculture’s reliance on them as a workforce, the industry uses vast quantities of water and often pollutes resources. 


Change is difficult because these people are on the absolute bottom of the political pyramid and lack a voice i...

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Some coastal communities experience flooding of low-lying areas on sunny days due to exceptional high tides. The frequency and severity of these events, also called blue sky flooding or nuisance flooding, are increasing due to sea level rise and are projected to triple in the U.S. by the year 2050.


Sunny day flooding is discussed in this episode with Miyuki Hino, an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina. Miyuki ex...

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As climate change and other crises strain water supplies, more attention is being paid to the water footprint, the amount of water used by an individual or household over a certain period of time. A water footprint includes the water that is directly used by taps, showers, toilets, and household appliances, as well as for outdoor uses. But the water used to make the food we eat, consumer products we buy, and energy we use is also p...

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As an historic flood devastated Yellowstone National Park and downstream communities in Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey was busy measuring streamflows, monitoring equipment, sharing data, and even making repairs in the field. Early data shows the flood could be a one in 500-year event and the gauge just outside the park measured water levels 50 percent higher than the previous record.


The role and response of USGS during these ...

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A new report finds that the 2.2 million people in America who live without running water or a toilet at home is costing the U.S. economy over $8.5 billion a year. The biggest impacts to the GDP come from lost productivity, time lost at work or school to access water, physical health impacts, water purchase costs, and mental health impacts.


In this episode, George McGraw, CEO and Founder of DigDeep, discusses the report and how clos...

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In Baltimore, there are vast, disturbing differences from neighborhood to neighborhood in factors such as employment, education, crime, and life expectancy. While it will take a wide variety of efforts to address the root causes, an effort is underway to evaluate how green stormwater infrastructure could provide benefits for residents and improve equity across the city.


In this episode, Meghan Hazer, a city planner with the Baltimo...

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