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US Cities Recognize the Value of Water on Imagine a Day Without Water

As global water supply and demand imbalance intensifies, solving the world’s most complex water challenges requires OneWater thinking – and that’s where we come in.

Many Americans take their water for granted, but what if we didn’t have water to wash our hands, take a shower or flush the toilet? How would we protect ourselves from disease? 

Water is essential to life and its integrated management is one of the most impactful ways to ensure social equity, health and economic growth, and to protect the environment. As communities continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, water’s essential role has become even more evident, and water and wastewater systems are more important than ever before in keeping communities and individuals safe.

Jacobs is pleased to be one of the thousands of water agencies, businesses, elected officials, schools and community organizations from across the country recognizing Imagine A Day Without Water, a national campaign supported by the U.S. Water Alliance, taking place on October 21, and aimed at educating and raising awareness about how water is essential, invaluable and needs investment. 2020 marks the sixth year of Imagine a Day Without Water.

Addressing water planning challenges and delivering critical water infrastructure is something we help our clients and communities do every day. So, we’re taking today, Imagine A Day Without Water, to celebrate our clients and some of the recent projects we’ve tackled together to provide safe and reliable water resources to our communities, our industries and the environment.

We’re also taking the opportunity to officially launch Jacobs’ OneWater initiative. As one of the world’s leading water solutions provider as evidenced in the most recent ENRRankings, Jacobs is committed to applying a OneWater approach to transform our water market planning services into integrated solutions for our clients and for the environment. OneWater approaches recognize that all water has value; that challenges are interconnected; and that solutions must be sustainable and inclusive.

"If we think differently about water and view all water as a valuable resource, we can work to tackle the issues that really impact people — climate, safe reliable water, flooding and scarcity,” says Peter Nicol, Jacobs Global Vice President & Water Market Director. “By looking at water through the ‘OneWater’ lens we move beyond traditional silos to bring an integrated, inclusive approach to a sustainable water future for all.”

Jacobs’ Regional Solutions Leader for Conveyance and Storage Joseph Danyluk, and Jacobs’ Community of Practice Lead for Integrated Water Resources Management Paula Silva are co-leading Jacobs’ OneWater initiative. This effort will culminate in a framework that will facilitate innovative thinking and collaboration by connecting resources from our five comprehensive water market solutions areas. The initiative will also identify and access cross-market synergies with Jacobs’ transportation, digital, buildings, power and environmental teams, explains Joseph.

“This will lead to increased awareness of OneWater planning approaches at Jacobs, greater outcomes for our clients, and most importantly, integrated service offerings that allow us to continue Challenging today. Reinventing tomorrow,” he adds.

“Jacobs’ global presence and more than 70 years’ experience tackling water problems of a diverse client portfolio, represent a unique opportunity to visualize what OneWater looks like,” says Paula. “Most importantly, using this current OneWater picture, we will engage with our water experts to develop a framework that facilitates finding innovative multi-benefit solutions during the planning stage.”

Recently, Jacobs hosted a OneWater webinar where our clients from the cities of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and St. Petersburg, Florida, shared how they are using the OneWater approach to both create resilient cities and engage their communities.

For instance, working with the City of Calgary's water utility, we’re evaluating potential impacts of drought on various systems as part of the “One Calgary, One Water” framework.

In addition to assessing infrastructure systems for Canada's third largest city – water supply and distribution; wastewater collection and treatment; stormwater and green infrastructure – the team assessed the vulnerability of meeting municipal agricultural and environmental demands; utility financial and governance systems, customer and community systems; and the broader regional community. Strategies to mitigate critical risks are now being developed and prioritized for near-, mid-and long-term actions.

And in St. Petersburg, Jacobs is working with the City to develop a capital program that addresses water challenges today and into the future – including utilizing stormwater as a resource. A consolidated and integrated approach centered on OneWater will result in cost savings from economies of scale as well as regional collaboration opportunities.

For St. Petersburg, OneWater is a sustainable approach to long-term utility planning that considers the potential impacts resulting from climate change; salt water intrusion; infiltration and inflow; clean energy usage; greenhouse gas reduction; regional construction coordination; and mitigation of surface water impacts. It requires the City to rethink how capital priorities are set, as utility systems cannot be considered in silos any longer, the team explains.

“The increasing global awareness of the value of water, combined with renewed focus on sustainability, resiliency and social equity, provide an unmatched opportunity to revisit how Jacobs has accomplished OneWater goals,” Joseph and Paula enthuse. “We’re excited to review the incredible portfolio of work from across the world and learn how our clients, our communities and our cultures are connected by water.”

The tools developed through Jacobs’ OneWater Initiative will allow our planning teams to leverage tools and innovations to help our clients address their unique challenges, embrace opportunities, and work towards global goals of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

By having all stakeholders work together in an integrated approach, we can help our clients implement the most effective and efficient solutions to solve whatever challenges they are facing in the management, sourcing, supply and distribution, collection and treatment, utilization or consumption of water.

Approaching all of this with a OneWater viewpoint allows Jacobs to help the communities and businesses we live in and work with to only have to “Imagine a Day Without Water” versus the crisis that would result if a day without water were to ever become a reality. Discover more about Jacobs’ OneWater initiative on jacobs.com.

Joseph Danyluk, AICP, is a Principal Technologist, Client Account Manager and US North Regional Solutions Leader for Conveyance & Storage at Jacobs. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil & environmental engineering and Master of community planning, both from the University of Cincinnati. With this multi-disciplinary background, Joseph has supported clients and project teams with developing integrated solutions for complex challenges affecting built and natural components of the water cycle. His 17 years of experience includes projects across the eastern United States and in Germany.

Paula Silva, PE is a Senior Water Resources Engineer, Project Manager and Jacobs’ Global Lead for the Integrated Water Resources Management Community of Practice. She studied mechanical engineering with a major in agriculture engineering at the ITESM in Monterrey in Mexico, followed by receiving a Master’s in science in hydraulic engineering at IHE Delft in the Netherlands. Her 18 years of professional experience includes extensive water system modeling to provide technical support to water supply managers and basin stakeholders facing complex water planning challenges. Much of her work has focused on achieving equitable and sustainable water solutions in the US and in Latin American countries affording her the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of United Nations, World Bank and other international organizations’ policies and expectations. 

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