Spotlight on Water Professionals Appreciation Week 2017

  • by Emily Allshouse
  • Oct 20, 2017
  • Newsletters

Thanks to strong advocacy and leadership by ACWA and a coalition of water associations, local water agencies across the state this month took part in California’s first-ever Water Professionals Appreciation Week (WPAW) from Oct. 7 -15.

WPAW was established this year by Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 80. The resolution, authored by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and approved by the Legislature in mid-September, was sponsored by an ACWA-led coalition that included WateReuse California, California Municipal Utilities Association, California Association of Sanitation Agencies and California Water Association.

Given only a few short weeks from its Sept. 19 approval to the Oct. 7 start date for WPAW, ACWA members were pressed for time as they planned and organized activities. Despite the short turnaround, several local water agencies quickly organized events and programs focused on staff appreciation, educating key audiences on the value of water, showcasing the important role that water professionals play in delivering water to California’s homes, businesses and farms, and promoting careers in the water industry.

Local Agencies’ Activities and Outreach

Dublin San Ramon Services District organized a tour of its water, wastewater, and recycled water systems for city, county, state and Congressional representatives on Oct. 11. The tour showcased several major capital improvement projects and priorities for asset management and water supply reliability.

After the tour, DSRSD General Manager Dan McIntyre, Engineering Services Manager Judy Zavadil, and Community Affairs Supervisor Sue Stephenson held a meeting with Assembly Member Catharine Baker to discuss water-related legislation including AB 574, a bill on potable reuse, and SB 623, a bill that would establish a statewide drinking water tax.

Due to time constraints, however, other agencies chose to participate in the week’s activities by focusing on sharing information on their social media accounts. Using the template included in ACWA’s toolkit, water agencies from all corners of the state highlighted individual staff members as a way of showing their appreciation.

Profiles featured a variety of water professionals including engineers, systems operators, planners, construction and maintenance crews, information technology specialists, accountants, administrative professionals, public affairs teams, customer service representatives and managers.

A handful of agencies produced short videos about their districts and staff. As part of its social media efforts, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District created a video highlighting its operations staff and the district’s role in delivering water to local growers.

The video features interviews with BBID staff members Phillip Arata and David Vaz who discuss the district’s water operations and the sense of pride district employees feel when they see local crops flourishing because of the water they’ve worked to deliver. The video also brings focus to the importance of water for agriculture.

A few agencies also chose to run op-eds on the importance of water professionals and water services in California. Valley Center Municipal Water District’s local op-ed detailed the district’s water operations and expressed appreciation for the hard work of their employees.

The op-ed also touched on the importance of water professionals during emergencies and natural disasters, such as wildfires. Although the op-ed specifically references disasters in past years, given the number of devastating fires that burned around the state this month, Valley Center’s piece was a timely reminder of some of the unseen work of water professionals.

Thank You For All That You Do

ACWA appreciates all of the water professionals within our member agencies and the dedication and commitment they bring to California water. Just as local water infrastructure investments are critical to California’s long-term water future, the investment of time and talent our members make in ACWA is vital to the association’s success.

Thank you for all that you do!

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