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MD-Asia Environmental Partnership Hosts Clean Water Summit

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The Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership will build on a multilateral relationship between the Far East and Mid-Atlantic on April 13 during MD-AEP's Clean Water Summit at Baltimore's Center Club. Chesapeake Bay stakeholders and water management experts will assemble to prepare a Maryland delegation for the Singapore International Water Week conference this July.

As MD-AEP head Peter Gourlay explains, "The genesis goes back three years to our Asia Water Management Forum at the Center Club in 2008, where we invited Singapore's National Water Agency chief executive to give the keynote speech." That was a major draw for experts and officials from around the Mid-Atlantic. The 2011 Clean Water Summit will use the Chesapeake Bay as a backdrop for exploration of water-related issues, since it is a symbol of health for the tourism industry and a source of drinking water for 16 million people. Real estate, fisheries, port management, and energy will all be discussed during the summit.

Gourlay adds that subjects that may seem tangential to water management issues are a critical part of the forum: "We're breaking down this Clean Water Summit to: food safety; the water-energy nexus, which involves efficient water usage and efficient energy use in pumping water to different locations; potential for sustainable agriculture and poultry cleanup in Maryland," and other areas where attendees can share concerns and best practices.

"Very often you'll hear that we get a very bad grade in terms of the health of the Chesapeake Bay, but in fact it's probably more scrutinized than any other water body on earth because Washington sits right on top of it." Asian countries and companies are interested in how Mid-Atlantic governments balance enforcement and economic growth, in Gourlay's experience.

The Clean Water Summit will feature participants and speakers from the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Maryland Bureau of the Environment, the World Bank, and even Coca-Cola, whose management views water as a sustainability and commodity pricing concern.

"I think we can turn water practices into an advantage from a tourism standpoint and also science and technology solutions being implemented in the Bay." Gourlay says.

Source: Peter Gourlay, President, Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership
Writer: Sam Hopkins
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