The Future of Water Begins Here and Now
Greg Swanson, Vice Chair
Ezra is the wonderful 3-year old grandson of some very good friends. Ezra is absolutely crazy about backhoes and dump trucks, so he came to visit the water works last weekend. As Ezra delighted in the construction equipment, I became pointedly aware of our collective responsibility to Ezra’s generation and the importance of the water legacy we are creating here and now. The water we produce will flow through their growing bodies. The water infrastructure we build and the strategic decisions we make will impact the lives and livelihoods of those who follow us. Our work is for tomorrow as much as it is for today.
Abraham Lincoln once said "the best way to predict your future is to create it.” These words of wisdom from our 16th President are directly aligned with the ISAWWA mission and the goals of its members. ISAWWA creates events and activities that provide Illinois water professionals with powerful learning and networking opportunities. These growth opportunities promote the knowledge, understanding and partnerships that are required to make effective decisions for the future success of Illinois water systems.
It has been said that "the future starts today, not tomorrow.”WATERCON 2013 is an excellent example of ISAWWA’s present day efforts to elevate the future of water in Illinois. This truly inspiring conference served to engage, inform and elevate over a thousand water professionals who attended. The conference was filled with diverse activities and opportunities that encompassed the wide array of concerns confronting the future success of Illinois’ water.
WATERCON had something for everyone. The technical presentations explored a myriad of topics relating to the long-term sustainability of Illinois’ water systems, while the exhibit hall was filled with the latest technology, efficient equipment alternatives, and high quality service providers eager to assist water utility managers and operators in addressing their goals and needs. The one-on-one and small group discussions that occurred throughout the conference allowed for the sharing of experiences and exchange of new ideas that open the door to future success.
The presence and involvement of Student and YP members was of special significance, as these bright and knowledgeable individuals represent the next generation of water professionals. We must strive to promote interactions between our seasoned water professionals and these capable young people, as this knowledge and experience transfer is of critical importance. Lastly, the ongoing partnership between IWEA and ISAWWA is an important reflection of the growing recognition that drinking water, wastewater, and storm water are different faces of the same substance: Water, the ultimate recyclable and essence of life. Opening the doors between these water sectors is of great importance to the water legacy of Illinois.
Just think, young Ezra stands a very good chance of experiencing the arrival of the 22nd century! Most of us will be departed, but our water work will live on in the communities we serve and the lives we touch. Let us embrace the opportunity to create a water legacy that reflects a spirit of responsibility and establishes quality and sustainability in the water and systems we leave to the next generation. ISAWWA is committed to providing essential resources to meet this challenge; and, if each of us embrace these resources with our own energy and commitment, we shall surely achieve success.