Expert Insight

7½ Threads

Despite the importance of the fire hydrant coupling standard and the responsible step taken by NFPA and AWWA, communities were slow to adopt the standard. Even as recently as 2004, a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) showed that only 18 of the 48 most populated cities in the United States have both small hose and pumper connections on fire hydrants that comply with the NFPA standard and that five major cities have no standard connections on their hydrants ...Read More

Innovating Innovation

We all know the end of the story—the Fosbury Flop became the most commonly used high jump technique. The important lesson for us is that innovation (even in sports) takes time to be accepted, and a key to acceptance is communicating the value to the masses. After several years of innovating, Fosbury was fortunate to communicate his unconventional technique over the course of a few days to the entire world as, at that moment, all eyes were fixed on the Olympics ...Read More

Improbable Denver

Denver is one of those western cities that many would say should not be here. Yet in 1859, with hopes of becoming rich, people descended on the area in search of gold. They settled at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. At the time, this area had little to offer except the combined trickles of this water; nonetheless, it is the spot where Denver started and today it remains a hub of commerce and activity ...Read More

Level 6B: Defeat Day Zero, Part 2

This historic drought—some conclude it is a one-in-a thousand-year event—also raises several environmental, social, and economic issues. Environmentally, experts are attributing the severity of the drought to climate change. Socially, the economic spectrum of Cape Town is significantly broad, and the drought has raised concerns about water equity, especially for those living in “informal communities.”…. ...Read More

The Most Important Things

For decades, AWWA has helped organize Drinking Water Week. It’s worth pausing—if only once a year—to reflect on how water professionals have changed our lives over the last century. Think about it. In the early 1900s, the average life span in the United States was in the mid- 40s, and now it is the late 70s. While perhaps not the sole cause, safe drinking water is a significant contributor to this change in longevity… ...Read More

Day Zero, Defeat Day Zero

Mother Nature is not cooperating—the rains are not coming. Also, bringing on new water supplies seems unlikely in the near term, although efforts are in progress. As so often is the case during droughts, Cape Town’s leaders have turned to the strategy of managing through the drought by trying to control demand and ratcheting up restrictions as the drought becomes more severe. They call this strategy Defeat Day Zero…. ...Read More

Do Good Work...

I looked down at the manual and read the title: Water Rates, by the American Water Works Association. That was the first time I encountered AWWA, and all I knew at that moment was that the American Water Works Association held the key and provided the guidance for my new employer’s work. So, I read it, then I read it again, and then a third time. At the end of my first day, I leaned back in my chair and realized that I did not understand a single word—it reminded me of when I was in college and I had to read The Iliad by Homer. ...Read More

Collaboration With Farmers Key to Source Water Protection

AWWA is asking the US Congress to emphasize source water protection in the Farm Bill’s conservation title. Many existing conservation measures address a host of environmental issues, but the direct connection between these practices and drinking water quality has not been made explicit in previous farm bills. ...Read More

The Spirit of a Water Professional

Of the Earth’s vast resources of water, only a small fraction is fresh and drinkable. A few people among the globe’s billions have been charged with the task of ensuring everyone else has a reliable supply of safe water. Supplying potable water is an essential human activity, a great responsibility, and a vocation of distinction. ...Read More

Are Ye a Screecher?

What happened in 2012 that made Halifax Water stop replacing public LSLs? The answer is research that was significant enough to make the utility reaffirm its pledge to its customers. In 2007 Halifax Water voluntarily and strategically started a research partnership with Dalhousie University and Graham Gagnon, an expert in distribution system water quality. ...Read More

The Best and Brightest

Although these future water professionals come from dramatically different backgrounds, it is interesting how their paths all now intersect with the goal of making a better world through better water. All four hope to have careers in the water sector, and they agree that working at AWWA has strengthened their desire to do so. ...Read More

Diversity of Diversity

Many of these simple and complex ideas also apply to the water sector workforce of today and tomorrow. Fostering diversity and inclusion is one of the five core principles in AWWA’s strategic plan. AWWA’s Diversity & Member Inclusion Committee (DMIC) helps set the strategy in support of this core principle. One demonstration of the DMIC’s work is the increased number of articles in Journal AWWA that specifically discuss workforce diversity in the water sector. ...Read More

Power of Many

My hope is that you will use the LSLR Collaborative’s tools and guidance to shape solutions for your community. Information on how you can start is contained in the advertisement below. Every step helps protect our communities today while we work toward a lead-free future. ...Read More

Affordability Mega-steps

Addressing a community’s water-affordability concerns is complicated but solvable. While the affordability burden is ultimately felt “locally” by households and their water utilities, fully solving it will require the combined initiatives of technical, community, and policy leaders. ...Read More

That’s Just What We Do

While these observations provide some value in developing strategies, AWWA’s strategy is encapsulated in our mission—to provide solutions to effectively manage water, the world’s most important resource. ...Read More

That Is Just the Way It Was...

In 2012 AWWA became a charter member of ISI, and we are proud to be the only charter member association that specifically serves the water sector. Since 2012 AWWA has worked diligently to build awareness of the power of ISI and the Envision tool for water professionals because we know this tool provides necessary guidance on how the water sector can build and replace infrastructure sustainably. ...Read More

EUM-It’s About Continual Improvement

A year later, the result was a guidance document called “Effective Utility Management" (released in June 2008). At its core, EUM, as it is commonly called, recognizes that a utility’s success is a function of managing and addressing several complicated and critical operational functions. ...Read More

The Water Guy

Financial economies of scale also work against smaller systems. This reality reveals itself when you look at water bills. Monthly water bills tend to range between $30 and $40 for utilities regardless of size—but on average, smaller utilities are at the higher end of this range and larger systems at the lower end. ...Read More

Golden Anniversary of Water Research

The history of the WRF is fascinating. The forward thinking founders were committed to the purpose and value of water research, and history shows that much of the hard work of these committed individuals was focused on securing adequate funding to support the start-up needs of the research agenda. ...Read More

Working for Water Together

Certainly two of the collaborative events for which AWWA and WEF are best known are the Utility Management Conference (UMC) and the Young Professionals Summit (YP Summit). For decades the UMC has brought water and wastewater executives, managers, and leaders together to discuss, develop, and solve the full spectrum of current and emerging utility management challenges. ...Read More

Behind the Numbers

Getting a sense of how water professionals feel the water industry is performing—its “soundness”—is a key statistic presented as part of the SOTWIR. The overall trend has generally been downward, with the trend being flat between 2015 and 2016. As I unbundled the 2016 data, I found that women generally feel the industry is less sound than men and that those under 35 years old and 65 years and older both felt the most positive about the overall health of the water industry, now and in five years..... ...Read More

Ride Like Paul Would

These days I am reminded of the importance of the different roles people play in solving complex problems each time a new report comes out regarding lead in wa­ter. Each report is like the lantern in the belfry; it warns us about the concern that lead poses in our drinking water. ...Read More

A Fish "Tale"

Today, in large part because of the lead-in-water crisis in Flint, Mich., society is paying attention to water. How could we not—water is in the news, on the Internet, tweeted, hashtagged, etc. ...Read More

Restoring Faith

If you share the goal that no one should have to question the safety of water at the tap, then as a society and as water leaders, we should seize this moment. ...Read More

One AWWA Operator Scholarship

The students had another common and stressful bond—how to pay for the education they desperately desired. Some, like John, had employer support, but many had to pay their own way. ..Read More

Is Water Conservation Dead?

A resource guide which explains how water-sector utilities can use these two important and complementary approaches to reduce waste throughout their operations, while continuing to improve utility products and services for customers. ...Read More

Flint—Guess What? It’s International News

In searching for positives, it is helpful to know that today’s number of lead services lines is estimated to be approximately 40% less than it was at the time the Lead and Copper Rule was enacted in 1991. ...Read More

Fate or Choice—Twenty Years After Our First ACE

For me to be able to attend ACE, I first had to summon the courage to call a well-recognized water professional whom I had never met and persuade him to let me join the committee he chaired. ...Read More