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Giuliani urged water utility leaders and public officials to be courageous in communicating the need to reinvest in water infrastructure
Before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 3,000 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on June 8, 2014, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani opened the American Water Works Assn.’s (AWWA) Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE14) with a keynote address stressing the importance of tackling North America’s looming water infrastructure crisis.
Giuliani urged water utility leaders and public officials to be courageous in communicating the need to reinvest in water infrastructure, acknowledging that “sometimes it’s a message they don’t want to hear, because it’s a message that says you’re going to have to spend money.”
Noting that 1.7 trillion gal of water are lost through broken or leaking pipe each year, Giuliani stressed that traffic tie-ups from main breaks in large cities are public safety hazards, because they impede emergency response times. “Not only are they economic issues, but they are life and death issues,” he said.
In his Opening General Session address, AWWA President Jim Chaffee announced the association's plan to open an office in India. He also said the association would respond to member knowledge and training needs in the areas of water reuse, storm water and wastewater. He noted that the conference theme, “Uniting the World of Water,” speaks to “two important trends: a shrinking world and the merging of the waters.”
AWWA CEO David LaFrance welcomed attendees in a Boston Red Sox jersey and reminded attendees to approach their daily work with optimism and hope.