Jordan Lake One Water

NewHope - TJH (11)

Photo from Dr. Tom Hoban

Jordan Lake One Water Association

The Jordan Lake watershed is a massive regional resource utilized by 10 counties, 27 municipalities, and nearly 700,000 water customers (see Figure below), and is continuing to be more populous every day. As challenges with water quality and water supply increase with growing populations, the need for water resources dialogue that crosses jurisdictional lines becomes more and more imperative. This type of cooperation is intuitive and simple in concept, but can be very challenging and complex in implementation.

The Jordan Lake One Water Association (JLOWA) is a new collaborative entity, administered by TJCOG and supported by diverse stakeholders from Greensboro to Raleigh, that seeks to facilitate cooperation and holistic resource management in the Jordan Lake watershed. The Association is comprised of local governments, conservation groups, universities, water utilities, agriculture, and private industry stakeholders interested in sharing the cost of water quality and quantity improvements in order to realize watershed-wide social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Jordan Lake Watershed

Map from Triangle J Council of Governments

The One-Water concept is well developed and used by a number of groups from around the country and beyond.  Several professional associations have excellent websites.  Publication and other learning tools are available.  These are listed below (Click on the name of the organization to go right to their website.)

US Water Alliance

The US Water Alliance is the hub for the one water movement, and their web site is a gateway to connect with resources and one water leaders. Check out their website for resources and offerings to help shape your community’s one water future. The US Water Alliance recently developed a publication of One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource, a detailed guide for how to tackle our nation’s most pressing water challenges.  This report makes a compelling case for the One Water approach—we highlight successful strategies and powerful real-world examples of One Water management in practice. The roadmap highlights the bold approaches that water utilities, businesses, agricultural groups, and municipalities, are implementing to build a secure water future for all. The roadmap is organized around six arenas for action where we are making progress: Reliable and Resilient Utilities, Thriving Cities, Competitive Business and Industry, Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Social and Economic Inclusion, and Healthy Waterways.  An Executive Summary is also available by clicking here.

One Water Approach - US Water Alliance

Graphic from US Water Alliance

Water Resource Foundation

Since the Water Research Foundation’s founding in 1966, we have funded more than 1,500 drinking water-related projects valued at over $500 million. Additionally, over 20 years ago, WRF began addressing the broadening research needs of our subscribers and the water sector as a whole. Over that time WRF has sponsored over 180 projects, valued at more than $69 million, on wastewater, reuse, desalination, and stormwater.  In 2013, WRF’s Board of Utility Leaders developed a strategic plan to ensure that WRF’s research agenda effectively addressed all areas of One Water, and in 2016, this enhanced focus can be seen through projects addressing the needs of the entire water community.  Their website includes an informative and interesting video about the One Water concept.  It also includes  examples from the more than 40 projects that WRF funded in 2016, demonstrating WRF’s commitment to address needs relating to drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and reuse.

oneWaterImages from Water Foundation

Graphic from Water Resource Alliance

One Water, One Future

What is “one water”? Our planet has a finite amount of available fresh water. Water is an essential resource that moves through a cycle of use and reuse in watersheds around the world. Wherever it is in this cycle, water has value. The one water approach views all water – drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, greywater and more – as resources that must be managed holistically and sustainably.  At the same time, water is life. It sustains us. It grows our food and makes our economies flow. Looking ahead, we see a future where all water is valued. By uniting diverse interests on a variety of water issues, from aging infrastructure to drought and flooding, we can secure a sustainable water future, now and for future generations. This is the One Water, One Future movement.


Photo from ‘One Water’: Concept for the future

‘One Water’: Concept for the future?

One Water is a collaborative project at the University of Miami aimed at engaging the media to bring awareness to the global water challenge. This project is made possible by major funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and enables journalists, communities and media makers from around the world to address the world’s water challenge from their unique perspectives allowing local voices to join the global conversation about water. One Water has created an international network of journalists and media makers with the purpose of generating the most compelling journalism relating to water, human life and the environment.

The challenges facing the planet with regard to the provisioning of safe potable water are many. Filmed in 15 countries, the movie One Water highlights a world where water is exquisitely abundant in some places and dangerously lacking in others. It celebrates the ways water has touched human lives around the globe and leaves audiences with a fundamental question, is water a human right or a commodity? Through a starkly emotional journey, spectators are invited to witness and are encouraged to recognize this global crisis as their very own as watching scenes from all over the world reveal how water is inspiring innovation, compassion and hope. The film began as a non-verbal visual story that allowed audiences all over the world to understand its visual message without the hindrance of a language barrier. Over time, One Water has evolved, and screenings now include along with the non-verbal film, a feature film narrated by Donna E. Shalala, and a television version narrated by Martin Sheen which debuted on Planet Green.  Click here to check out the three versions of their excellent video.

Three Gorges

Photo from ‘One Water’: Concept for the future

The Jordan Lake One Water Association (JLOWA) builds on and applies the information found on these websites. The JLOWA group will be focusing on determining the mission, objectives, and structure of the group over the coming months. Meetings will involve advancing conversations about integrated water management, the state of the legislative environment, and the future of our watersheds in order to foster more integrated and innovative approaches to tackling issues associated with growing regional populations in the Jordan Lake Watershed.

JordanLakeDam1 Jen S (1)F
Photograph of Jordan Lake Dam by Jen Schmitz


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