2017 Mid-Atlantic Stakeholder Engagement Workshop

Understanding water challenges, success stories, and potential solutions


Date: June 20, 2017 9:30 am – 3:00 pm

Location: University of Maryland, Baltimore County – South Technology Center, Building 1450

1442-1450 South Rolling Road Halethorpe, MD 21227


The UWIN 2017 Baltimore Mid-Atlantic Stakeholder Science Workshop convened stakeholders and researchers in a day of discussion on pathways to integrated water management in the region.  The meeting represented the 2nd National Team UWIN engagement at UMBC.  After a brief update on the UWIN project, which included results from the first year of national stakeholder workshops, participants were led in a facilitated discussion. The discussion focused on potential pathways toward integrated urban water management and the complex nature of obstacles that stand in the way of progress toward solutions.  Over lunch, a presentation on funding and finance mechanisms for integrated water solutions was provided by UWIN researcher, Alex Maas. During the afternoon sessions, participants expanded upon the morning’s conversations to include potential mechanisms to help the region overcome the barriers which they had identified.  Discussions allowed the group to collaboratively identify research questions and to improve researchers’ understanding of the decision context.  The table below identifies the pathways that were discussed as well as the barriers and potential responses shared by stakeholders.



Twenty-seven individuals, representing federal, county, and city government agencies, community based non-profits, and university-based research teams were in attendance.


Key Findings

Finally, participants shared their take-away lessons from the workshop, as follows:

  • The role of the federal government was discussed on a number of levels at the workshop, DOT, EPA, funding shortages; we need to rethink these relationships. It is possible for professional organizations to write bills to amend policy like the Clean Water Act.  Local governments should write papers that suggest changes to CWA for when federal government is ready.
  • Coordination and opportunities to improve planning and processes should be addressed. This is an opportunity for further research.  Compartmentalized governments are not working for us.  We are all working toward same goal but we don’t talk openly.  The structures of authority are still on the local scale. Funding, time constraints, non-existent relationships, permitting requirements are all barriers to coordination because folks are so acutely focused on independent tasks and responsibilities.
  • Marketing approaches and behavioral research are needed to deliver messages.
  • Connection between regulators and public are very limited; mid-level managers are disconnected from both.


Pathways Barriers


Integrate across agencies
  • Different entities managing waste water, drinking water, storm water, reuse
  • Closer coordination on One Water approaches would be worthwhile especially because agency missions have some overlap but are independent of each other.
  • IUWM cannot be done in isolation; business and transportation models would need to change
  • Need to integrate across water agencies and also across all sectors of society
  • Short-term thinking, staff cuts:  state and local governments have had to make a lot of cuts reducing coordination capacity
  • Insurers should be integrated into coordinated management approaches to improve preparation and response to natural disasters, e.g. flood insurance, and whether it can be responsive to changing hazard probabilities?


  • Look at Utilities of the Future as an example
  • Look at DC Water/ Hampton Roads for an example
  • Possibility of a regional authority?
  • The regulators have a huge role (e.g., EPA regulators)
  • Use technology more effectively to coordinate
  • Honest conversations about how to move forward together and how to talk across silos are needed, where competition for economic resources is real
  • “Getting together in a room like this where we have to talk is a lot easier than trying to find time to read information to move forward because everyone is working overtime.”
  • Coordinating agencies are critical, Washington Council of Governments is a very strong example
Build societal knowledge to encourage acceptance of GI and other “One Water” approaches
  • The general public may not understand potential benefits of integrated approaches, like GI, and/or may not be affected by them  (E.g., 90% of folks are not affected by stream issues.  Folks upstream are not impacted.  Drinking water issues are much more graspable.)
  • We are challenged with how we talk about GI, corridors, etc.  How do you educate businesses to think differently?
  • We need the general public to accept and advocate for integrated approaches, public education is needed to inform citizens about One Water approaches and the impacts of their behaviors
  • Social marketing strategies are needed to motivate desired behaviors


  • People would rather buy in than be forced into action.
  • Incentivize desired behaviors, work with financial community to identify opportunities for financial aid, which may help to move programs ahead.
  • We might want to look at social movements for examples of how to nudge communities toward transition and to learn from the past.
Adopt a more comprehensive approach to stormwater management that incorporates green infrastructure and expands funding for programs
  • Existing stormwater laws encourage GI, but don’t provide enough incentives to develop programs or enough clarity on exactly how much is needed to derive how much improvement
  • Lacking funding for initiatives beyond local support


  • Improve studies on returns on investment of different GI approaches.
  • Improve communication of results from studies on effectiveness of GI.
  • Expand individual scale GI implementation, like rain gardens, by increasing incentives and funding.
  • Look to federal government for expanded funding opportunities.
  • Alter standards for new landscape/ community development to reduce soil erosion.
Alter Clean Water Act to integrate planning
  • Clean Water Act drives what we do, but it is fractured as it treats drinking water, wastewater, stormwater separately. In order to think about One Water, we need to rethink Clean Water Act so that all codes and regulations interact in the right way.
  • The Bay program is a success story, but it is hampered by the set of regulatory tools that are available or are commonly used by the EPA
  • Id industry standards that might be included into a revised CWA
  • (E.g.,. In forestry: top down, industry groups are leading efforts for certification.  See forest certification process & indicators)
Improve Marketing
  • Communication is generally top-down from regulators to local government and to communities. Communication approaches should be more collaborative.


  • Bring in marketers/ social scientists to govt. staff, include residents in communication of efforts, build buy-in through improved communication and expanded community participation


  • Can’t bill for stormwater mgmt.
  • Lack of total funding and lack of ability to integrate funding
  • Individuals who donate to government cannot write off the donation on taxes
  • A lot of people with whom we are working cannot pay; they are having trouble putting food on the table, affordability issues are critical


  • Baltimore changed rate structure to include a fixed charge and a variable rate charge
  • A possible solution is to allow people to make a donation to a non-profit intermediary who could then spend the money to support government action


Workshop Goals:

This workshop will focus on institutional (technical, policy, financial, human) pathways that foster transition toward coordinated, aligned, and integrated management of urban water systems. Perspectives, suggestions, and feedback from meeting participants will inform and shape the UWIN National Blueprint. Meeting activities will advance understanding of factors that influence coordinated and aligned actions and decision-making. Information will be synthesized and summarized to help UWIN researchers create actionable science in subsequent years. The meeting will also foster networking/relationship-building between participants within the Mid-Atlantic, across the Nation, and with the UWIN research team.

Location:   University of Maryland, Baltimore County – South UMBC Technology Center Building 1450 1442-1450 South Rolling Road Halethorpe, MD 21227

Parking: Free, on-site parking available


9:30 am – 10:00 am Continental Breakfast

Pre-workshop survey

10:00 am – 10:30 am Welcome, Introductions, Year One Review

Mike Sukop

Welcome, agenda overview, UWIN and stakeholder self-introductions, what we heard from you last year
Mazdak Arabi

Description of Integrated Urban Water Management approaches with focus on institutional processes, description of blueprint and why one is needed, models of success

10:30 am – 12:00 pm Session #1:  Futures, Pathways, and Institutional Policy Innovations for Coordinated, Aligned, and Integrated management of Urban Water Systems
Focus: Explore potential IUWM futures and pathways, identifying attributes (social, technological, economic, environmental) of each, informing the Blueprint; select 3 priority pathways/solutions for unpacking in Session #3
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch
Session #2: “Integrated Water Management: Funding, Financing, and the Future” Dr Alex Maas
Focus: Current water system funding and financing, alternative models, and case studies illustrating strategies for funding and financing IUWM
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Session #3:  Futures, Pathways, and Institutional Policy Innovations for Coordinated, Aligned, and Integrated management of Urban Water Systems (Continued)
Focus: Building on Session #1 and lunch presentation, explore highest priority futures and pathways in terms of targets, goals, metrics, and barriers to implementation and potential responses to overcome them
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Workshop Closing Discussion, Synthesis

Mike Sukop