Sometimes the best way to take in new information is in drips. Drip, drip, drip, until it forms a deep pool to quench your thirst for knowledge. Podcasts are a great medium for this type of learning; the perfect tool to sip small consumable drops of information about intensive topics, all at your own pace.
Funding for our nation’s infrastructure systems is one such topic. With many sides weighing in on how best to fix and pay for necessary maintenance and issuing new demands, there is one point of complete agreement: our nation’s infrastructure is failing.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grades our national infrastructure at a D+. ASCE similarly gave wastewater infrastructure a D+ and drinking water a dip lower at a D.
This past Saturday kicked off Water Week, a week-long advocacy, regulatory and legislative focus on water infrastructure issues. The meetings, conferences and webinars focus on the Clean Water Act and its many components including environmental, biological, stormwater, wastewater, wetlands and more.
The running stream of issues on the agenda makes it difficult to wrap your head around all the facts and data, and podcasts are a great way to keep your head above water. Following are my recommendations to better understand the issues and hear from many of the dedicated and knowledgeable safe and clean water advocates out there.
- Water in Real Life with the @H2duO – The @H2duO are two of the industry’s most passionate and compelling advocates dedicated to bringing water “stories” and the people behind them in front of decision makers and the general public. Their podcasts are funny and poignant. They educate through short snippets and fun narratives. One of my favorites is their interview with former DC Water general manager and now founder and executive director at Moonshot Missions, George Hawkins. George speaks about his passion not just for infrastructure funding but also for proactive communication. Water + infrastructure + communication? That’s a whirlpool I can jump in.
- Words on Water – This podcast is hosted by the Water Environment Federation (WEF). The topical conversations focus on water issues all over the world and demonstrate that many of the problems are universal. I recommend listening to their interview with Carla Reid, general manager and CEO of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) and her “vision board.” Carla is the first woman to serve on WSSC in its hundred-year history (full disclosure, Carla is a Leadership Montgomery classmate of mine). In the interview, she shares her professional journey and path to success, which includes many good lessons for the listener.
- Talking Under Water – This monthly podcast covers all aspects of water issues. The tag line, “one water, one podcast” summarizes the One Water movement’s mission well – a focus on managing water more holistically across regulations, legislation, pollution, programs and projects. Learn more about the change it is bringing to the use of plastics around the world in Episode 2 – Pollution in Waterways.
I listen to these three podcasts regularly to stay on top of the issues. Pretty soon you’ll be using water jargon and speaking about safe and clean water issues just like Poseidon! (Too much? Am I flooding you with information?). This Water Week I encourage you to take some time to drink in as much knowledge as you can and learn more about our water and related infrastructure needs.
Karyn Le Blanc is a senior vice president and leads Stratacomm’s infrastructure and development practice. She’s always in search of a good pun and water issues offer an endless stream of possibilities.