District 1 Trustee
Acclaimed marine biologist, Jacque Cousteau, once said "We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” His profound observation certainly rings true on multiple levels, as the many Americans who have been impacted by this summer's drought have discovered. The intimate relationship between the water cycle and their daily lives has been highlighted by extreme weather conditions. Questions, such as "where does my water come from?” and "are we in danger of running out of water?' have been raised in communities across our State. This heightened water awareness is a good thing, although it may be short-lived, depending upon future weather patterns and potential long-term climate changes.
On the other hand, the demands that the drought has placed on Illinois water systems serve to underscore the ongoing challenges faced by water utilities across the State. Water supply challenges are numerous and diverse in nature, encompassing critical areas such as, disaster management, facility & equipment maintenance, operational knowledge & efficiencies, and public relations. When a drinking water system is challenged, its strengths and weaknesses are revealed, which creates a potential growth opportunity. However, appropriate resources must be available in order to take advantage of such growth opportunities.
Fortunately, ISAWWA is dedicated to providing its membership with a host of resources designed to assist water utilities in meeting the many challenges facing them. Our Association offers a wide variety of educational seminars, from asset management principles to well rehabilitation, which provide beneficial guidance for enhanced water utility reliability. Likewise, ISAWWA webinars, on-line and home-study courses, conferences and site visits provide an excellent assortment of developmental activities. Additionally, ILWARN, the "utilities helping utilities” response network, is another powerful resource that can provide members with specialized human and material resources when water supply crises occur.
Members are wise to take advantage of the ISAWWA resources outlined above, which will promote professional growth and preparedness for future challenges. As if that is not enough, ISAWWA's greatest offering is its members themselves. This group includes a diverse array of water utility personnel, consultants, equipment & service providers, and regulators, who are an amazing treasure trove of knowledge and experience. Among this group, one can find the answer to virtually any drinking water question or concern. If the answer is not found, ISAWWA will help find an answer. Collectively, our membership is the authoritative safe drinking water resource in Illinois.
In fact, ISAWWA members are the drinking water leaders in our State. Water supply challenges, such as the recent drought, reveal the importance of this leadership to the daily lives of the nearly 13 million people living in Illinois. Individually and collectively, we are remarkably knowledgeable and successful. However, President John F. Kennedy once said "leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” He went on to say "the greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.” In other words, the more we know, the more we don't know. Most of us have come to realize that the path of knowledge does not have an endpoint, but rather continues to grow and expand as we journey along it.
In summary, ISAWWA is a dynamic fountain of learning and professional growth opportunities. Our members take from and add to this expanding pool of drinking water knowledge. This vibrant process provides members with the knowledge, tools, and insights required to meet today's and tomorrow's water supply challenges. Best intentions for success to all ISAWWA members engaged in meeting these challenges.