The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has established the WEF Stormwater Institute, a new venture to address the growing issue of stormwater and urban runoff.

The institute will be housed within WEF in order to take advantage of the organization’s existing leadership, membership, and partnerships with federal, state, and local entities responsible for managing stormwater issues. WEF will provide a dedicated full-time professional staff, as well as funding for collaborative projects.

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“WEF has been a leader on clean water solutions for many years and has already established itself as a leading authority on urban runoff issues,” said George Hawkins, chief executive officer and general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). “The expertise and engagement of WEF’s membership will allow the Stormwater Institute to chart a new course toward a healthier and more sustainable stormwater system not only in North America but worldwide.” 

According to WEF, stormwater is the only growing source of water pollution in many watersheds throughout North America. As urban areas grow and more severe weather occurs, the issue of stormwater management is expected to grow. 

“With increasing severe weather events and limited budgets, innovation in stormwater management and financing is becoming increasingly vital to communities across North America, “ said WEF President Ed McCormick.

The growing issue of stormwater pollution coupled with regulatory pressure has created a need for national leadership that the WEF Stormwater Institute aims to provide, the press release said.  The institute will have a strong initial focus on the development of technical tools, professional training, and networking opportunities for stormwater practitioners worldwide. Many existing stormwater initiatives within WEF will be brought under the umbrella of the institute, and new programs in areas such as green infrastructure will be developed. 

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