A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Justitia Omnibus Aqua

I spent much of this week attending the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) meeting held annually in Washington, DC because I work at the Oregon institute - The Institute for Water and Watersheds - housed at Oregon State University.   Every state has one, usually located at a land-grant university. The event is sprinkled with presentations from the various institutes on what is going right (we still exist since 1964 as a result of the Water Resources Research Act of 1964, as amended in 1984), and what is going wrong (few of us receive much in the way of financial support from our home states - see this article that I wrote in the IWW weekly newsletter for a graph showing the roller coaster ride in funding since the Oregon center opened 50 years ago). We frequently hear from federal agency staff, congressional staff, and members of legislative and congressional delegations on what is on the horizon for water issues across the US.  This year California Representative Grace Napolitano provided one of the keynote addresses. Representative Napolitano is an ardent supporter of water recycling - you can watch a video of her discussing the topic here.

The same day, I had lunch with a senior scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, where along with some great clam chowder, the subject of discussion was water recycling, including greywater.  His observation which echoed Representative Napolitano's is that it is time for recycled and stormwater to have parity with other water(s), and that stormwater and reclaimed water(s) are not a nuisance, but rather an asset.

Every state has a motto and Emily Wick has done a great job of mapping the geography of mottos (visit this map at her Two Eyeballs website). The official motto for Washington, DC is Justitia Omnibus (which is Latin for Justice for All).  It sounds like Washington insiders get the picture - it is time to stop "discriminating" against the colors of water and treat it all as one resource.  Thanks Representative Napolitano for taking time from your busy schedule to speak with our group and for sharing the wisdom of your natural resources staff, too.

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