Each year, the Massachusetts Water Forum unites legislators, local elected officials, water specialists, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, community members and landscape architects, designers and planners with a view to actively discussing policy change re: issues pertaining to our water resources.
This year our program, co-sponsored by Senators Becca Rausch and Jamie Eldridge, is aligned with the UN's World Water Day theme - ACCELERATING CHANGE and the commonwealth's concern for addressing drought and climate. To this end we will take time to look at the new drought bill proposed by Senators Bruce Tarr and Jamie Eldridge.
Two new state carbon offset funds are in the works: The Slow Water Drought Relief Carbon Storage Offset Fund that rebates property owners for pumping stormwater into the ground and rebates for building soil beneath lawns by the ton of organic carbon. The Let Forests Grow Carbon Storage Offset Fund will rebate government and private property owners the timber income loss when not timbering their woodlots and left wild.
Other innovative ideas will be proposed by some local and not so local landscape architects and scientists, here at the Massachusetts State House. (Please be sure to scroll down to see who will be joining us!)
Last August, 94% of Massachusetts had severe or extreme drought conditions. While extreme weather events are the result of greater oscillations brought on by climate change, the water shortages, dry rivers, and crop losses are the result of little or no water management when water was in abundance.
FYI -The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (ENRA) has been split in two. Now there is the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, and the Joint Committee on Agriculture headed by Senator Rausch Chair and Senator Eldridge Vice Chair.
In addition to controlling water, we must also go with the flow, recognize local water cycles, better understand the natural rhythms of water, find nature-based solutions, and slow water down. Research indicates that when we slow down the sluicing of water we can reduce stormwater overflow away from the land and into the sea:
And when we add other nature-based solutions to our urbanscape such as green roofs and living walls, we more greatly protect the hydrologic cycle so necessary to preserving water and keeping our water from flowing off rooftops and roads directly into the sea.
Our program will include internationally renowned keynote speaker, Kotchakorn Voraakhom, innovative landscape architect who has been bringing nature-based solutions to cities and people across the globe, beginning with her home of Bangkok, Thailand. Aside from her education as a landscape architect from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, in 2002, Kotchakorn attended Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, earning her master’s in landscape architecture in 2006. She launched Landprocess in 2011—the same year that her family’s Bangkok home was decimated by record-setting floods. There is so much more to learn about Kotchakorn and her work.
To start, here is her TED Talk on transforming cities into landscapes that fight floods and climate change. Here are some pertinent links: Kotch on wikipedia Meanwhile, please read about her organization, Landprocess, and see what it is working to achieve.