EPA’s Jackson Starts New Waste to Water Site for Cities

City officials from around the world will be able to share their waste, sewage and storm water programs on a new website set up by the U.S. and Brazil, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said.

The site www.epa.gov/jius is designed to link municipal officials from Reno to Rio de Janeiro so that they can tell each other what methods they’re using to bundle small municipal projects into larger portfolios that generate interest from investors, Jackson said in an interview in the Brazilian city.

“Most mayors are struggling already to try to finance their public projects,” Jackson said. “One of the things we found when we had people come from Reno to visit was there was so much going on but so little opportunity for city leaders and policymakers maybe just under the mayor’s level to really share what works and what didn’t work.”

The intention is to make the site available to municipal officials beyond just the U.S. and Brazil to help spark ideas in towns and cities worldwide that can facilitate local projects, Jackson said. She cited the example of Philadelphia, where financial incentives were put in place to encourage people to deal with storm water run-off.

“The challenge is to look at small projects which can have an impact in the aggregate,” Jackson said. “Cities are places where you can aggregate things quite easily. There are people, there is critical mass, so how do you bundle those things? The platform is designed to show cities which have figured out how to do it.”

About 50,000 delegates from 190 countries, including 130 world leaders, are gathered in Rio for the Rio+20 United Nations conference on sustainable development.

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