International Dignitaries Visit Fernandina Utilities DepartmentOn Friday, September 25th, international dignitaries from Bhutan, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Suriname, and Thailand came to the City of Fernandina Beach Utilities Department as part of a regional tour sponsored by GlobalJax. The visitors, with positions such as Chief Hydrology Officer and Senior Environmental Health Officer, came to the region specifically to learn about water resource management, focusing on the U.S. experience to protect the shared water resources that are at risk from pollution and depletion of resources, population growth and industrial expansion, and climate change. Other destinations on the tour included Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Reserve, the St. Johns River, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, St. Augustine, and the Jacksonville Port Authority.

Fernandina Beach was highlighted as an example of state of the art water treatment facilities. The group examined innovative financial, scientific, and technical strategies for assessing, monitoring, and conserving water resources. One innovative strategy is that the Utility Department recently installed solar panels to power the entire water treatment facility. The electricity generated by the solar panels will pay for itself and generate power needed to run the facility. International visitors under the same program visited the Utilities Department in 2011, and based on the success of the visit, GlobalJax invited Fernandina Beach to be a site again in 2015.

GlobalJax is the regional partner for the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership program, which brings hundreds of emerging international leaders to Jacksonville every year. These leaders visit our region to learn about the U.S. perspective on a variety of different issues, from public health to economic development to water resource management. For more information, visit

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