U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council Meets in Schenectady, N.Y.

May 12-13 brought together 70 attendees from across the United States to discuss water issues facing large city mayors. Mayor Brian Stratton of Schenectady hosted the meeting. Schenectady is the home of General Electric?s Renewable Energy headquarters. Taking advantage of that, the theme of the meeting was the Water-Energy Nexus. GE accordingly hosted a tour of its renewable energy facility.

Mayor Stratton co-chairs the Mayors Water Council with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, of Pleasanton, Calif. Highlights of the presentations included ?Energy Management and Alternative Energy Use in the Water Sector,? by John Young, American Water Works Service Co.; ?Tapping the Potential for Energy in Water,? Clinton Robinson, Black & Veatch; ?Smart Grid for Water Utilities,? Kendall Smith, Aclara; and in the category of Infrastructure Finance and Best Practices ?East Providence, R.I. ? Design-Build-Operate Partnership,? Richard Brown, City of East Providence, and Gary Albertson, United Water.

Concluding the meeting, three Albany office staffers of New York?s federal politicians made brief comments representing Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Paul Tonko (21st District). The mayors discussed that the term ?shovel ready? stimulus fund projects was a misnomer and the political staffers agreed. The mayors pointed out that unless a project was ?on the shelf,? it had to be designed and put out for bid. Thus, it was impossible to do this in the time allotted by the federal government. The stimulus money came to a close Feb. 17. It was also discussed that out of all the stimulus money that has been allotted, water received less than 1 percent.

The Mayors Water Council will meet again in the fall in Pleasanton. Specific dates will be announced at a later time.

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