Water Utility Infrastructure Management: Q&A with Jesse Berst

Jesse BerstCouncil Chairman Jesse Berst discusses trends and challenges in water infrastructure and how smart water systems can make dramatic improvements to the cost, safety and reliability of urban water supplies in this Q&A with Water Utility Infrastructure Management.  Below is an excerpt from the interview; click here to read the full article.

Q: What are some of the water companies/organizations involved in the council?  How does membership in the Council benefit those groups?

A: The Smart Cities Council is led by an Advisory Board which includes organizations such as the Smart Water Networks Forum, Water Alliance, the International Water Association, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Advisory Board membership is available by invitation only to acknowledged experts from academia, non-profit advocacy groups, research laboratories and municipal governments.

On the private sector side, many of our member companies have been involved in cutting-edge smart water projects around the world, including ABB, EDF, IBM, Itron, Microsoft and Schneider Electric. These companies become members to join voices and share costs to help educate cities about best practices for smart city implementations.

Q: Based on the Council’s initiatives and information gathered by your involvement in the water sector, what do you see as the biggest water infrastructure challenges cities are facing?
 
A: Beyond the physical landscape challenges, the Council has identified four realities that affect when, where and how a city should approach the transformation of its water system. First, smart cities must close the loop around local watersheds, reducing the import of water and giving preference to locally available water. Second, water is unquestionably a regional issue and smart water systems require collaboration between cities and all stakeholders. Third, smart water requires smart policies that mandate results but not a specific technology. Cities should work with advisors and suppliers to determine the best way to achieve that result. Finally, smart water calls for creative financing and adequate skills from personnel to run sophisticated systems.