Climate Change

What’s the Value of Water? Tackle the Question at WHYY with Philadelphia Water

Philadelphia Water is serious about investing in infrastructure. Credit: Rick Orlosky
Philadelphia Water is serious about investing in infrastructure. Credit: Rick Orlosky

Water is essential for everything we do in life, and so are the systems that deliver drinking water to homes and businesses and remove and treat wastewater for safe reuse or return to the environment. After working around the clock for decades or more (often for over a century), and serving growing communities, Philadelphia’s water infrastructure is aging and in need of investment. Water systems also face stresses that their 20th-century builders never anticipated as changing climate patterns intensify storm events, increase drought occurrences, and contribute to rising sea levels and flooding.
Like cities and regions nationwide, Philadelphia is confronting complex environmental, demographic, and economic challenges while working to meet the public’s expectations for affordable clean water, effective wastewater management, and flood protection. But Philadelphia is tackling these formidable challenges with a unique approach. Philadelphia Water is aiming to be a model 21st Century utility with investments in innovative, decentralized water infrastructure as a cornerstone of our 25-year Green City, Clean Waters strategy to achieve that goal. Philadelphia is also pursuing strategies to make all wastewater treatment plans Net Zero Energy facilities.
As part of Infrastructure Week 2015, Philadelphia Water is joining forces with American Water, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and the Value of Water Coalition for a roundtable discussion on the state of water infrastructure and innovative investments in regional water systems. The conversation will cover a number of ways that water investments are moving Philadelphia and the region forward, and how water infrastructure in this region compares to projects and strategies in other regions across the country.
Join us on Thursday, May 14 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the WHYY Studios for free breakfast and engaging conversation. The event is free, but you must register by clicking here

Where Did All The Peaches Go?

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May 10th was an historic day in climate change history. CO2 at Mauna Loa, location of the longest unbroken records of CO2 levels, hit 400ppm. Scientist can look back up to 800,000 years, in air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice, to determine how carbon dioxide levels have changed from 180 during the ice ages and 280 during warmer periods. Fossil fuels have caused a 41% increase in carbon since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. What does this mean for Philadelphia? It means more extreme temperatures in the summers, with fewer moderate days. This will cause problems for farmers growing crops that rely on consistent summer temperatures. For example, you may not find lettuce and broccoli in markets past July. But there is hope! The Climate and Urban Systems Partnership is helping Philadelphians learn about and combat climate change.

Also known as CUSP, the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership is an east coast movement with established networks in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Queens, NY and Washington D.C. Working with local partners ( community groups, city government and policy makers) the members strive to create and disseminate learner-focused climate education programs and resources for an urban audience. CUSP hopes to create lasting collaborations to improve public understanding of the science of climate change. The Philadelphia Water Department is a proud member and supporter of CUSP! Keep an eye out for different education materials cropping up around the city, like these posters at the Clark Park Farmers’ Market. 

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