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E-Splash November 2013 - Vice Chair Report
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash - November 2013

Safe and Sustainable Water for Illinois

Greg Swanson, Vice Chair

It has been said that "When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” However, it is too late to act when "the well runs dry”. We must be proactive. Fortunately, ISAWWA is dedicated to providing resources for the management and advocacy of safe and sustainable water in Illinois. Advocacy to promote knowledge and appreciation of the value of water is of particular importance at the present time. Let us embrace the challenges of public, political and professional water outreach and expand our collective efforts in these areas, before "the well runs dry.”

Water is the essence of life. From the microscopic cellular level to the macroscopic planetary level, water is constantly at play in a myriad of processes throughout the entire hierarchy of life. However, water is grossly under appreciated and undervalued in our country. Most people think water comes from the faucet and have no idea of its source or treatment. Likewise, few care to think about what happens to water after they flush. Indeed, the growing concerns associated with safe and sustainable water are not recognized by a vast majority of the citizens in Illinois.

ISAWWA members are well versed in the complexities of the water world and the technical, scientific, environmental and economic issues it entails. We recognize the importance of water and water systems to the well being of Illinois communities and citizens. Actually, we are uniquely qualified to elevate the public’s understanding and appreciation. This work begins on the frontlines of water treatment and distribution, continues through the offices of utility managers and consulting engineers on into interactions with municipal, state and federal governments.

A Hopi proverb states "One finger cannot lift a pebble.” This idea underscores the importance of our collective action through ISAWWA involvement to ensure safe and sustainable water for Illinois. Certainly, our individual efforts in the communities and projects we are involved with matter. But our participation in ISAWWA programs, committees and activities multiplies our contributions in an exponential fashion. Together, we have a truly powerful impact. Together, we can elevate public awareness of the value of water and water infrastructure. Together, we can give water a voice in Springfield and Washington DC. Together, we can create opportunities for students and young professionals to explore and to embrace water-related careers on all levels.

ISAWWA members should be aware that there are a great variety of opportunities to participate in the Association. Whether you are an operator, a YP, or an engineer, we need your energy and insights. Please contact a committee chair or board member to explore these opportunities, which are personally and professionally rewarding. As the ISAWWA community continues working together to provide resources for the management and advocacy of safe and sustainable water, our efforts serve to promote knowledge and appreciation of the value of water throughout Illinois.

I extend my sincere respect and appreciation to all who choose to contribute to the ISAWWA mission. Each and every contribution is of crucial importance and is truly valued. Thank you. I look forward seeing you at Watercon 2014, if not sooner. Enjoy the beauty of autumn!


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