The Future of Water Utilities: Exciting and Unfunded


This is the first of a two-part conversation between George Hawkins, head of the local water utility here in Washington, and Bloomberg BNA water policy reporter Amena Saiyid.

Today we bring you the first of a two-part conversation between George Hawkins, head of the local water utility here in Washington, and Bloomberg BNA water policy reporter Amena Saiyid.

Hawkins is known within the world of water utilities as an ideas man, someone constantly trying to come up with new ways of delivering drinking water and disposing of wastewater. (Or, more recently, taking that wastewater and recycling it into something useful.)

But Hawkins also constantly finds himself torn between the future, the present and the past: he needs to balance his progressive ideas with the need to meet mandatory pollution prevention goals and also upgrade infrastructure in his city that is now decades, and in some cases, centuries old.

Where will the money come from to achieve all of this?

Hawkins talked about the financial pressures he and other big-city water utilities are facing and why these pressures mean utilities have to be really good at communicating with businesses and homeowners about their water bills.

You can read more of Amena’s reporting on water policy at our blog and in our publication Daily Environment Report. If you liked what you heard in the podcast, sign up for a free trial.