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Message From the President
Year End Wrap Up
Mark Decker, CWWA President
As I come to the end of my term as President of the CWWA, I looked back to the first letter I sent last summer and see it focused on anticipated regulatory changes, benefits of participation in CWWA Board and Legislative Committee, and opportunities for cooperation with the CTAWWA. Never once had I anticipated we would be dealing with a pandemic and the impact it has, and will have, on the way our lives, industry, and business function. While it is not a waterborne pandemic or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake that takes out large portions of infrastructure, it does show how business continuity planning is so critical to our operations. Throughout this whole process, delivery of high-quality water to our customers remains our first and foremost responsibility.
As I look deeper into these pandemic issues, although not anticipated last summer, I do see a lot of parallels with the topics I did talk about a year ago:
Anticipated regulatory changes:
the State Water Plan is all about developing a balance between instream and out of stream needs and uses and the ability to consistently provide a suitable quantity of high-quality water. A suitable supply of high-quality water at a reasonable price is critical for good hygiene necessary to limit the spread of the virus. Regional supplies, interconnections, redundancy, and viability of community and non-community systems as such a time is crucial.
PFAS regulations – PFAS has been dubbed “the forever chemical” because it does not break down naturally and it is found throughout the world. This is the first contaminant I can think of where we are working in the parts-per-trillion level and the technology needed to detect and treat are pushing new boundaries. The true health impact at what level is still uncertain. The financial difference between treating to 70 ppt or 10 ppt will be significant. It has taken water quality from the scientific community to the political and emotional community. At this time there is no indication the COVID19 virus is capable of being transmitted through water. However, this virus has certainly strained the political, emotional, and scientific communities in a world-wide issue. The financial impact as well as the ability for small systems to continue to operate with limited staff are also being tested.
Participation in CWWA Board and Legislative Committee:
While not directly related to the business of the CWWA Board or Legislative committee, one benefit I cited last summer was “… to get to know the people in the industry, interact with them on a regular basis, share tips, and learn from others successes”. In this current environment, learning what other water companies are doing to prepare for and react to the pandemic has been a great resource for me. Having a network of other industry professionals is an invaluable resource.
Opportunities for cooperation with the CTAWWA:
Similar to my above comments regarding the CWWA Board and Legislative Committee members, having access to and relationships with industry professionals and regulatory staff with educational knowledge and experience in a wide variety of water-sector issues is a great resource.
No, we never expected to be dealing with a pandemic this year. But we will get through this, our industry will learn to deal with things in a whole new way and, hopefully, we will grow as a result.
As I finish my term, I want to thank all of the people who volunteer their time, their expertise, and their resources to the CWWA and the CTAWWA. I also want to thank you for your friendship. Being involved in this industry for 27 years has given me a great appreciation for the people that make it all work from a technical and legislative perspective. I have never met professionals with a greater passion to provide for and protect public health. It has been my honor to work with you.