Pittsburgh is a tale of two cities: It has been inundated with water issues in recent years related to aging infrastructure, sewer overflows, pollutants, and population growth, yet it doesn’t lack for water due to being located at the juncture of three rivers. In 2018, the Heinz Endowment reached out to the Water Center at Penn (WCP), a new trans-disciplinary applied research center for urban water policy, innovation and science, to study the challenges and opportunities for water management for the Three Rivers region.
The report for the first phase of the study, “Accelerating Transformational Change in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers,” was recently released, which focuses on Pittsburgh’s water challenges. WCP interviewed over 50 organizations and reviewed related literature, finding that some efforts have been made to identify and address certain issues related to the watersheds. They also noted that investment in new infrastructure, necessary to meet the requirements of the consent decree facing the region is a positive step but the “consensus from all interviews was that this will only partially address the list of evolving and interconnected challenges.” The WCP determined that the water challenges can only be completely addressed through a “systematic and integrated approach.”
The next phase of the study will focus on improved water management of the Three Rivers region, with emphasis on developing an action network to connect relevant parties. Additionally, the Water Center plans to draw together leadership from political, technical and financial arenas to work toward long-term strategies for the region.
Photo Credit: ctj71081, Flickr
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