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Letter to the Editor Published September 21, 2017 - Protecting Water Resources

September 21, 2017

On Sunday, September 17th, the Post and Courier published two articles surrounding water, “Storm was a wake-up call for Charleston” and a special report “SCUM”. Coincidentally just two days earlier, our city was flooded by water professionals discussing these very topics.

Every year since 2003, a group of about 130 water professionals from Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have gathered for a unique conference called the “Confluence Conference.”  This conference is set aside for provocative presentations and rich discussion about water issues in our communities.  Looking beyond local circles, this annual experience among the three states greatly deepens connections and commitments to protecting shared waters, and to inspire collaboration. Attendees are primarily from water utilities and agencies that work every day to protect drinking water supplies and the water environment. The 15th Annual Confluence Conference was held here in Charleston on Thursday, September 14th and Friday, September 15th. The theme for Confluence Conference was “Protecting our water resources, are you up to the challenges?”. The theme was influenced by the local and national challenges our water utilities have and will continue to experience. It was driven by the need to be prepared for the issues and to have a plan to address these emerging issues. This conference was through a cooperative effort of the Joint Water Resources Committee for South Carolina American Water Works Association and Water Environment Association, The Georgia Association of Water Professionals, and The UNC Water Resources Research Institute. During this two-day conference water professionals listened to presentations and joined in conversations on the topics of toxic algae, taste and odor control, water management, water planning, groundwater resource planning and availability, hurricane response, sea level rise, and drought management.

As water professionals, we have spent years learning about, planning for, and responding to challenges. Conferences such as the Confluence Conference enable us to work together to become more knowledgeable and prepared. Knowledge is power and being prepared will help all of us better sustain our water resources and the communities we serve.

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