Howard Neukrug is a Senior Fellow at the US Water Alliance. In this capacity he provides strategic guidance on key Alliance initiatives, serves as an official spokesperson for the organization, and leads the development of publications and initiatives to advance a sustainable water future for all.
Howard is a local and national leader in the drinking water, green infrastructure, and wastewater utility industries. A builder of regional and inter-agency coalitions and trust-based relationships with regulators, legislators, and communities, Howard created Philadelphia’s Green Cities, Clean Waters Program and served as the CEO of Philadelphia Water’s $1 billion water services utility. He is an advisor to the US EPA and other environmental agencies on issues of policy and regulation, water quality and treatment, and urban planning and sustainability and has served on many environmental advocacy organizations. Howard is a graduate in Civil and Urban Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where he currently teaches three courses: “Water, Science, and Politics,” “Sustainable Cities,” and “The US Water Industry in the 21st Century.”
As Infra Ages it Does Not Become Stronger
Infrastructure has obviously been an issue for the water industry since the time of the Romans. We put it in new and it ages and as it ages it needs to be repaired, and at some point it needs to be replaced…And as we do this we’re finding that we may be more susceptible to emergency conditions that occur—like what happened in Flint, or Charleston, West Virginia, or Toledo, Ohio—where we need to look at the entire system and understand a little bit better how to manage our infrastructure and make it stronger and make it last longer.
The One Water Summit: June 8-10, 2016
It’s the U.S. Water Alliance, which is a group that’s about eight years old, and we’re looking to bring in non-traditional and traditional partners in the water business, bring them together and talk about what we can do to work together to balance our needs, to leverage resources, and to integrate our systems in a way that we can think a little bit differently about how we’re going to take the infrastructure that we have today for water…and work on them together and figure out how we balance public health and safety and ensure that we have resilient sustainable systems for the future.
Staying Ahead of the Game
We need to get ahead of this in terms of infrastructure—whether it’s water or telecom, streets, bridges, highways, airports—and move forward. What’s more important to the future of our country and our children than the infrastructure that we leave them? The fact that the infrastructure that has been left to us was remarkable and strong, and has served us well as a nation and helped us in our growth. And at some point this investment is going to have to be increased into the future…We’re going to have to find more money, and when we find the money it will never be enough to do everything that we want to do.
We Can Handle It, but We Need Investment
We are Americans; we’re going to make it through this. but it is a tremendously important issue that at some point is going to be addressed and needs to be addressed with more money. That money can come from local governments, local utilities, which is where most of the money for the water industry comes from today…The issues we have now are smaller than the ones that we had in the past, but are more expensive to address. And as we want to address and make our rivers and streams and provide high quality water for our fish and for recreation and for drinking, more money is going to be needed to be spent.