The Value of Water's Radhika Fox and Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug speak during Infrastructure Week. Credit: Brian Rademaekers
Vice President Biden kicked off Infrastructure Week with a fiery speech about how our infrastructure needs to be modernized. Biden highlighted the lack of visibility for water infrastructure: "No one sees it. You get a chance to invest in the stormwater drainage system, which causes enormous pollution, or you build a new park... it's not a hard choice for a politician to make." Biden also stated "We need to modernize our water infrastructure. Sewage, stormwater runoff, safe water supplies."
It's truly great to see the importance of water infrastructure getting talked about in such high places, and we owe the VP for the shout out. But we couldn't help but think that the "either/or" "pipes vs. parks" scenario he laid out - either you use public funds to improve water infrastructure or you build a new park - might be a bit too black and white.
The real beauty of our Green City, Clean Waters program and the green infrastructure it makes use of is that we get to add new green spaces to neighborhoods in the form of rain gardens, bumpouts, tree trenches and more, all while bulking up our water infrastructure and protecting our rivers. With Green City, Clean Waters, neighborhoods are expanding their green space, and Philadelphia is drastically reducing the toll stormwater runoff takes on our streams and rivers.
So, what do you say, Joe? Why not have that cake and eat it, too. After all, that's what the "triple bottom line" of Green City, Clean Waters is all about: It’s good for our city, good for our wallets, and good for our water.