Denver — CH2M joined the Value of Water Coalition and hundreds of water agencies, businesses, elected officials, schools and community organizations from across the United States for Imagine a Day Without Water, a national campaign taking place September 15, 2016 aimed to educate and raise awareness about how water is essential, invaluable and needs investment.
"One fifth of America's economic output depends on water; yet the nation's water and wastewater infrastructure is at risk. Many cities are struggling to maintain systems that are more than a century old, and there is a water main break somewhere in America every two minutes," says CH2M Global Water Business Group President Peter Nicol.
In communities across America, this "invisible crisis" is disrupting daily lives, threatening jobs and businesses and putting our communities' health and prosperity at risk. On Imagine a Day Without Water and every day, CH2M is dedicated to helping our clients around the world ensure that more communities do not suffer the consequences of living without water.
Since 1946, water has been at the forefront of CH2M's business. One of the most important ways that CH2M changes the water landscape is by addressing water challenges and increasing sustainability through project work.
In many parts of the world, and in the United States, there is either too much or too little water. To that end, CH2M is working with clients to address the full spectrum of water challenges. CH2M and Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) are partnering on the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT), an innovative water purification initiative designed to ensure a sustainable source of groundwater while addressing environmental challenges such as Chesapeake Bay restoration, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.
Today, CH2M will participate in an event at HRSD's York River Treatment Plant to call attention to this project planned to help ensure that Virginians never have to "Imagine a Day Without Water." Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward and a host of other state and local officials will be present to celebrate the preliminary success of a SWIFT pilot project at the plant.
The multi-year SWIFT initiative would take highly treated wastewater that would otherwise be discharged into area waterways and purify it through additional rounds of advanced water treatment to produce drinking-quality water. The purified water would then be treated to match the existing groundwater chemistry and added to the Potomac Aquifer, the primary source of groundwater throughout eastern Virginia. This forward thinking solution will proactively address water, environmental and economic needs not only for today, but for generations to come.
We help our clients make the best choices for their communities and ecosystems, and the environment. In the central US, the City of Houston recently began a major expansion project at its Northeast Water Purification Plant (NEWPP) to help secure Houston's future water supply. The Houston Waterworks Team (a Joint Venture of CH2M and CDM Smith) was selected as the design-build contractor for this $1.2 billion Project in December 2015. The NEWPP project includes expanding the City of Houston's existing NEWPP from 80 mgd to 400 mgd through two construction phases, while exceeding high water quality and production rates to meet the needs of its growing population. The Houston Waterworks Team is responsible for designing and constructing the expanded water facility, as well as start-up and commissioning activities.
"The City of Houston has been proactive in future proofing its water needs, and the NEWPP expansion will ensure that the city can make use of its renewable and reliable surface water supplies," added Nicol.
In addition to joining industry partners, associations and many of our water clients to heighten awareness for the true value of water on days like Imagine a Day Without Water, for 25 years, CH2M has supported Water For People, a nonprofit organization helped founded by former CH2M employee, Ken Miller, and has provided clean water and sanitation to more than 4 million people in nine countries to date. CH2M's passionate support for Water For People demonstrates the deep commitment to provide sustainable water not only nationally, but to people around the world.
Employees have donated more than $2 million to Water For People over the past several years. In this year's Employee Giving Campaign, more than $200,000 was raised to support Water For People's mission, which is to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments.
"Through these initiatives and others, we are helping clients meet the current and future needs of the communities they serve," adds Nicol. "We are committed to a future where everyone can count on reliable and safe water service—now and for future generations. There's always more that we can do, and as we reflect on Imagine a Day Without Water, I encourage us to think about what we can do on an individual level to protect and invest in our world's water."
To learn more about the work CH2M is doing to protect and preserve water, follow its Access Water Blog at www.ch2mhillblogs.com/water.