Spreading the Infrastructure Message

A Minnestoa group seeks to build on and customize a national education program

You may well have seen the TV documentary, "Liquid Assets: The Story of our Water Infrastructure," produced by Penn State Public Televisions and supported by major water, wastewater and other industry associations.

Now, a group in Minnesota hopes to take a similar and personalized message out to that state's residents. Blueprint Minnesota: Liquid Assets (www.BlueprintMN.com) is a grassroots initiative seeking to create a documentary that builds awareness about the critical role water infrastructure plays in protecting public health and promoting economic prosperity in the state.

"History has shown us time and again that a successful city and state owe their economic prosperity, public safety, and high quality of life to the infrastructure that serves them every day," the group states on its web site. "The primary mission is to develop a documentary that will introduce Minnesota residents to their infrastructure, discuss conditions of that infrastructure, and finally, [suggest] how best to move forward."

The initiative is sponsored by Minnesota-based chapters of major organizations, including the Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, and American Public Works Association, as well as entities such as the Suburban Utilities Superintendents Association, state Department of Health, Minnesota Rural Water Association, and Twin Cities Public Television. The basic aims are to:

* Increase local and state leadership in infrastructure.

* Promote sustainability and resilience.

* Develop regional, state and local infrastructure plans.

* Address life-cycle costs and ongoing maintenance.

* Increase and improve infrastructure investment from all stakeholders.

The project is still in its formative stages, but content is liekly to include topics such as:

* The fundamental necessity and value of water infrastructure and the hazards of continued neglect.

* The watershed protection approach to building and sustaining infrastructure.

* The engineering challenge of building and maintaining underground facilities.

* 21st century solutions for addressing infrastructure rehabilitation needs.

* The financial and political challenges confronting infrastructure rehabilitation.

Watch future issues of Municipal Sewer & Water magazine for an article about this initiative.


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