Access Water Client Newsletter: March 2012

President’s Message

 Every March we celebrate World Water Day. The United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day in 1993, and it’s amazing to see how much water awareness has grown over the past few years. This year’s World Water Day theme is Water and Food Security, a very timely topic.

I’m a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water Security, which is working to address the threat water insecurity poses to the economic development and security of numerous countries.  With population projected to double over the next 20 years, stronger demands will be placed on water in energy and food production as well as drinking water supplies. More demands and stress on our water and land resources will drive food costs higher. Currently, the country seeing these effects the most is Pakistan, where food accounts for more than 45 percent of global household expenses, compared to 7 percent in U.S.

The World Economic Forum projects that if we stay at the current rate, where 1 billion people do not have access to adequate food and nutrition, by 2025 that number will double. By 2030, 55 percent of the world’s people will depend on food exports, mostly due to insufficient local water supplies.

CH2M HILL is working with clients around the globe to tackle their water challenges. We’re helping municipalities and industries address the energy-water nexus, finding a balance and conserving both resources. As a firm, CH2M HILL is committed to curbing our own water usage. We’ve pledged to assess our water use, set targets related to water conservation and wastewater treatment, seek and invest in new technologies, include water sustainability considerations in business decision making, and partner with our clients to improve water management within their organizations.

We also advocate for water sustainability by working with national, regional, and local governments and public authorities on public water policies and issues. We vow to work with people in our communities, as well as around the world, to develop safe, sustainable drinking water systems and to encourage conservation and water reuse. We recently launched WaterMatch to further facilitate water reuse opportunities around the globe.

And our staff is heartily committed to conserving water use and making clean water and sanitation accessible to people around the world. In celebration of World Water Day, 625 employees globally pledged to curb their water use on March 22, resulting in the savings of approximately 156,812.5 gallons. For each employee who pledged, CH2M HILL donated $1 to Water For People.

We are pleased to work with you and address these challenges together. Our clients are always on the cutting edge and first to demonstrate the innovative solutions that will help us protect the world’s water.

Best Regards,
Bob Bailey
President, CH2M HILL Water Business Group

Hats Off To. . .

U.S. Water Prize Winners Announced

Congratulations to the 2012 U.S. Water Prize Winners! The Clean Water America Alliance created and administers the U.S. Water Prize to recognize achievement and inspire action for water sustainability.  CH2M HILL is among the proud sponsors of the 2012 U.S. Water Prize.

This year’s U.S. Water Prize winners listed by alphabetical order are Frito-Lay Inc., Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Philadelphia Water Department, Project WET Foundation, Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.  U.S. Water Prize winners will be honored in a special ceremony on Monday, April 23, 2012, at the Washington Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Frito-Lay received the award because of its corporate-wide stewardship on water and energy conservation.

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is being recognized for its pioneering watershed-based permitting (WBP) pilot program.

The Philadelphia Water Department is receiving the U.S. Water Prize for “Green City, Clean Waters,” which is finding a balance among ecology, economics, and equity.

Project WET Foundation is being recognized for its success in building an extensive, grass-roots network of school and community educators.

The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative received the award for its inter-jurisdictional partnerships to protect and sustain drinking water supplies.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is being honored for its holistic approach to energy, water, and urban watershed management.

For more information, visit

The Global Water Award Shortlist

CH2M HILL projects, clients, and the firm itself, have been shortlisted for the 2012 Global Water Awards. The yearly awards acknowledge outstanding achievements within the international water industry. The awards are sponsored by the International Desalination Association and Global Water Intelligence and will be presented April 30 in Rome. CH2M HILL has been shortlisted for Water Company of the Year. The Brightwater Treatment Plant near Seattle is a contender for Water Reuse Project of the Year, the Gippsland Water Factory in Victoria, Australia, is one of the Industrial Water Project of the Year finalists, and Water Corporation’s Southern Seawater Desalination Plant in Australia is in the running for Desalination Plant of the Year.

Thames Water Lee Tunnel Receives Greatest Contribution to London Award

In March, Thames Water’s Lee Tunnel, part of the London Tideway Improvements, received the Greatest Contribution to London Award and the Infrastructure Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) for its outstanding engineering achievements. CH2M HILL is serving as program manager for the historic public works initiative. The program will tackle the issue of overflows and enable the UK to met European environmental standards while ensuring a cleaner, healthier River Thames. The Lee Tunnel, currently under construction, is the first of two tunnels needed to tackle the 39 million cubic meters of untreated sewage discharged to the River Thames in a typical year from London’s overstretched Victorian sewers fill to capacity after rainfall.

CH2M HILL’s LA Wastewater Control System Replacement Project Team Receives Performance Award from City of Los Angeles

CH2M HILL’s Los Angeles Wastewater Control System Replacement Project team received a Performance Award from the City of Los Angeles. The award recognizes CH2M HILL for its partnership with the city, and its innovation in using an alternative delivery approach for long-term performance contracting of enterprise level control systems.

Over the past 5 years, the City of Los Angeles and CH2M HILL have embarked on an aggressive long-term strategic plan. Part of that strategic planning focused on technology and its impacts to the business. The Los Angeles Wastewater Control System Replacement Project will replace an existing control system, in which parts are more than 25 years old, with new systems technology that will monitor and control tens of thousands of the city’s facilities and collection system assets and integrate operational systems that are required for efficient operations and maintenance of the Bureau’s enterprise. Operational systems such as computerized maintenance management, energy management, security, and computer-based training are unified on a singular integrated platform. Uniquely, the project requires that CH2M HILL performs all maintenance and upgrades to the system over the full 15-year lifecycle so that at the end of the contract term, the city has the latest hardware/software technologies and a viable infrastructure that will extend for an additional 15 years.


GEMI Tool Launch

The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has just released the GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT) and the GEMI LWT™ for Oil and Gas. CH2M HILL assisted GEMI and a consortium of more than 40 companies in the development of the tools, which link with the Global Water Tool that CH2M HILL developed in 2007 for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Oil and Gas Sector Tool developed with IPIECA in 2011.

The tools are designed to work together. The Global Water Tools allow for a comprehensive water risk assessment across a company’s portfolio, and the Local Water Tools provide guidance on local, site-specific water risks, impacts, and opportunities. Supporting nomenclature, data continuity, and software codes were developed by CH2M HILL to be compatible between the Global and Local Water Tools to ensure the user’s ability to transfer data between the tools.

“The Global and Local Water Tools can help companies identify their most significant water-related risks and impacts, assess management plans and report water performance,” said CH2M HILL Vice President Jan Dell. “We are proud to have helped develop the range of resources that enable companies to actively address their water challenges at the global and local levels and then take steps to promote sustainable water management in their operations, supply chains, and planned projects.”

Like the Global Water Tools, the new GEMI Local Water Tools are free, interactive, and may be downloaded by users to their own computer systems. The Global Water Tools have been used by more than 300 companies to report their water use, and has been downloaded more than 15,000 times. The tools are updated frequently – the most recent addition being Conservation International’s Biodiversity hotspots data in 2011.

Links to all of the free water tools are available from CH2M HILL’s Access Water site.

CH2M HILL’s Glen Daigger Chairing National Research Council Committee

Daigger led review of EPA’s economic analysis of final water quality standards for numeric nutrient criteria in Florida

Dr. Glen Daigger, International Water Association President and CH2M HILL Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, is Chair of the National Academies’ National Research Council Committee tasked with reviewing the economic impacts of the final numeric nutrient criteria for lakes and flowing waters in Florida. In early March, the committee determined that the costs for implementing new pollution criteria in Florida waters are likely to exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. The committee questioned the validity of several assumptions in the EPA cost analysis and found that the EPA did not adequately consider uncertainties associated with implementing the new rule. The committee has briefed the EPA, the Florida Congressional Delegation, and a group of relevant Congressional Committees on its findings.

The complete report published by the committee is available online.  Read Access Water blogs by Dr. Daigger about the reasons for, and importance of, the analysis and results: one written after the final study group meeting in December 2011 , and one written after the results were published .


CH2M HILL Employees Mentor Students for Engineer’s Week

Future City Competition

To support the firm’s commitment to mentoring students, CH2M HILL engineer Amy Gao assisted middle school students in East New York City in the Engineers Week (E-Week) Future City Competition. Amy helped the students design a city using the SimCity software, write an essay and abstract about the city, and build a scale model of the city to be presented to a panel of engineer judges on the day of the competition.

Called “The New City,” the students created a futuristic city on an island powered entirely by water turbines, and featuring flying cars and stacks that filtered the air. The students won the AECOM Most Sustainable Water Use Award for their innovative design that used water turbines to harvest energy from the ocean to power the entire city.

CH2M HILL’s Cincinnati Office teams with clients to host an E-Week Presentation

Also during E-Week, CH2M HILL partnered with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) and Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) to host the 2012 Engineers Week (E-Week) Program for 25 fifth grade students from Oyler School.  Oyler is a K-12 institution that MSDGC strategically supports as part of its Communities of the Future initiative.

MSDGC Executive Director, Mr. Tony Parrott, and GCWW Acting Director, Mr. Biju George, welcomed students and teachers from Oyler School and shared how important engineering is to what the utilities do everyday - provide water to drink and treat wastewater – as well as the impact of engineering on everyday life.

CH2M HILL staff all over the world help with similar projects throughout the year and during Engineers Week celebrated each February.

CH2M HILL Participates in Global Marathon For, By, and About Women in Engineering and Technology

Several CH2M HILL employees served as panelists during the 8th annual Global Marathon For, By, and About Women in Engineering and Technology, March 5-10, 2012. Originating from a different part of the world each day, the Global Marathon connects women from six continents for conversations ranging from water and food to energy and entrepreneurship. CH2M HILL hosted the China program during the Global Marathon called, “From Grassroots to Business to Government Initiatives: How Everyone Can Play a Role in Achieving Water Sustainability.” The panel of CH2M HILL experts discussed how individuals, businesses, and governments around the world are taking bold action and delivering solutions at a sufficient scale to make a measurable difference.

The CH2M HILL webinar can now be viewed online. To do so, please login/register for free, click on On Demand Sessions, then scroll down to “Grassroots to Business to Government Initiatives” and click View Now.)

Hui Chng Chan, CH2M HILL Project Manager, discussed the dreams and long-term, holistic vision for the island nation of Singapore to achieve water security. Learn about the many aspects and projects behind the Singapore Water Story now in these Access Water blogs by CH2M HILL employees Hui Chng Chan, Tuck-Wai Lee, and Ngo Chiaw Tan.

Kate Peabody, CH2M HILL Communications Strategist, discussed WaterMatch, a grassroots, goodwill initiative that harnesses the power of social networking to promote the beneficial reuse of municipal effluent for industrial and agricultural use at the local level to conserve fresh water and promote community and economic development. Learn more about WaterMatch now in this Access Water blog by Jan Dell.

Steph Stoppenhagen, CH2M HILL Sustainability Strategist Lead and Client Service Manager, discussed the GreenUp website, the world’s first web-based virtual tool, launched in the District of Columbia, which incentivizes individual property and business owners to install green infrastructure measures on their properties to reduce stormwater runoff and save energy.  Read about GreenUp in Steph’s Access Water blog.

Cool Projects

Cities of the Future: an Urban River Park is Transforming Singapore’s Water Infrastructure

The Bishan Park in Singapore officially opened on March 17. Part of the Active, Beautiful and Clean (ABC) Waters Programme, the park has been transformed from a linear utilitarian concrete drainage channel into a meandering, natural river landscape. The ABC Waters Programme is a long-term initiative to transform the country’s water bodies beyond their functions of drainage and water supply, into beautiful and clean streams, rivers, and lakes with new spaces for community bonding and recreation. CH2M HILL partnered with Atelier Dreiseitl and worked with associate firms Design Inc. and Phrase Communications to create an integrated approach to waterway management for the ABC Waters Programme. The approach incorporates engineering, science, landscape design, the behavioural framework of urban design, and a commitment to community involvement. The new river teems with life, and has already shown a 30 percent increase in biodiversity even before construction was completed.

A first in the tropics, bioengineering has been used to stabilize the river banks so that they can withstand strong flood flows and also provide habitats for flora and fauna. The flood plains provide generous open space for recreational activities, and in the case of a heavy down pour, the park functions like a real river plain, allowing the river water to spread and slowing the waters down through friction, thus reducing the hydraulic overload of the river in more dense urban areas downstream.

Stay tuned to Access Water Blog for innovation and insight on all things water, all year long.