Photo by Kimberly Dean

Water Table

The Water Table effort is funded by the William Penn Foundation (WPF), with the goal to bring nonprofit conservation organizations, the water-user community, and local governments together within the Greater Philadelphia region, to build relationships and collaborative initiatives for better alignment of efforts, new projects, and possibly new/sustainable sources of funding. The project convener is DVRPC, in close partnership with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, and the Philadelphia Water Department.

This initiative formed in response to the realization that while the WPF Watershed Protection Program for the Delaware River Basin has engaged numerous conservation nonprofits, and more recently local governments, many professionals in the water user community (water utilities, industrial water users, the port community, and consultants that serve them) are not part of the conversation, although many share the mission to promote conservation and wise use of the Delaware River Basin’s water resources.

Knowing that more resources and collaboration are needed to best address the myriad water resource challenges facing the Basin, this project is exploring how to engage the water user community to build an even more diverse, resourceful and impactful group of partners that can work together to improve water quality in sustained, long-term relationships.

Project Tasks

1. Identify and convene a steering committee. Steering Committee meetings were held 8/11/20 and 3/23/21.  Water Table Steering Committee members are:

  • Kelly Anderson, Philadelphia Water Department
  • Marc Cammarata, Philadelphia Water Department
  • Skelly Holmbeck, Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin
  • Kate Hutelmyer, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
  • Kathy Klein, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
  • Kim Long, Exelon 
  • Sandra Meola, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
  • Meishka Mitchell, Coopers Ferry Partnership
  • Susan Myerov, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
  • Drew Shaw, Montgomery County Planning Commission
  • Chris Sturm, New Jersey Future
  • Steve Tambini, DRBC Delaware River Basin Commission

2.  Gain a better understanding of various sectors’ knowledge and perceptions of each other through in-depth interviews. Interviews were conducted late fall 2020 through early winter 2021.  A summary of interview findings can be viewed in this presentation.

3.  Create maps showing service areas for land trusts and watershed associations, and municipalities with an EC/EAC.

4. Bring stakeholders together in facilitated meetings to break down knowledge barriers, improve understanding, forge relationships, and collectively identify efforts to implement projects to improve water quality. The first Water Table Stakeholder Meeting was held 4/16/21.  View the presentation and the breakout room discussions.

5. Develop a Summary and Next Steps Plan representing shared commitments from Water Table participants.

Patty ElkisDeputy Executive Director
Air Quality Partnership
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