Brown and Caldwell and the Water Research Foundation (WRF; developed Blueprint for One Water, a practical guide for agencies seeking to manage water resources holistically and sustainably. One Water is an integrated planning and implementation approach to managing finite water resources for long-term resilience and reliability, meeting both community and ecosystem needs, the organizations said (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: One Water approach to managing finite water resources for long-term resilience and reliability. Image: © Brown and Caldwell

“The One Water approach is gaining prominence for its ability to move communities toward reliable and resilient water systems, but many utilities have expressed the need for tactical steps or guidance to develop a One Water framework,” said Rob Renner, CEO of WRF. “Our goal with this blueprint is to give agencies the tools they need to get started, which we hope will lead to more widespread adoption and implementation.”

The blueprint features lessons learned from early One Water adopters, plus spotlights on how visionary leaders are successfully applying the concept, along with recommendations for integrating a multi-stakeholder process. The blueprint includes:

  • critical steps and important actions toward the development of a One Water framework;
  • methods for overcoming potential barriers and obstacles;
  • key outcomes and milestones for each critical step; and
  • more than a dozen case studies of One Water early adopters.

Brown and Caldwell developed the blueprint, which was sponsored by WRF project #4660, with input from more than 800 water professionals who participated in an international survey, more than 10 one-on-one interviews, and a two-day international workshop with 35 water professionals.

According to the blueprint, the top six reasons to apply a One Water approach are (in order of importance):

  • greater resilience and reliability;
  • opportunities to optimize regional infrastructure;
  • sustainable community development;
  • new regulatory flexibility or opportunity;
  • economic growth opportunity; and
  • increased coordination among agencies/departments

“With increasing uncertainties and challenges influencing the quantity and quality of this critical resource, utilities must commit to new ways of thinking to maintain reliable and resilient water systems,” said Wendy Broley, Brown and Caldwell water reuse leader and a co-principal investigator on the blueprint. “Many utilities implement One Water projects by starting small and building on successes, having discovered that as they innovate, others follow their lead. The Blueprint for One Water guidance document is a valuable starting point for this work to begin.”

Download the Blueprint for One Water report at

Information provided by Brown and Caldwell (