A Special Issue of Water Resources IMPACT

President's Message | July 2020

I hope you’ll find time to read this special issue of Water Resources IMPACT. Lisa Beutler has put together a wide-ranging collection of articles on water topics related to COVID-19, including insightful communications from professionals on the front-lines of water management during the pandemic. A big thank you to Lisa, authors and co-authors!

Association News
I’m delighted to announce creation of a new AWRA award, the Kenneth J. Lanfear Award for outstanding technology-related paper published the previous year in the Journal of American Water Resources (JAWRA). The award was established by the AWRA Board of Directors in conjunction with JAWRA Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Venkatesh Uddameri, to honor Ken’s distinguished contributions to the field of water resources technology and the success of JAWRA. Ken served as President of AWRA in 2002 and as JAWRA Editor-in-Chief from 2006 through 2014. He was instrumental in instituting the use of GIS and posting real-time instream flow data on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website – much to the delight of kayakers and others – at a time when many federal agencies were only beginning to create websites, let alone share live data via the internet. In addition to his National AWRA service, Ken was also an active and supportive member of the AWRA National Capital Region section. On a personal level, Ken has always to me exemplified the best of what it means to be a public servant – enthusiastic in his work, supportive of colleagues, and dedicated to improving service to the public. Congratulations Ken – we look forward to JAWRA announcing the first recipient of the Kenneth J. Lanfear award at the AWRA 2020 Virtual Annual Water Resources Conference in November. The AWRA staff and board meanwhile are working on many other important items, including actions to bring in new members, offer new benefits to members, and continually improving our website. Examples of new offerings include a two-session workshop on racial diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for water resources professionals July 22 and July 29, and efforts to offer more robust continuing education unit (CEU) credits. More information on these efforts will be coming out shortly. Staff and many volunteers are also hard at work with our regular programming: planning our upcoming conferences, scheduling webinars, and conducting committee work. If you’d like to help with any of these efforts, please contact our CEO, Dresden Farrand ( We’re specifically looking for volunteers for our New Member Benefits Task Force.

Conference Updates
I’m happy to announce that registration is open for the rescheduled AWRA Spring Conference, the 2020 Virtual Geospatial Water Technology Conference: Complex Systems, which will take place over two weeks, August 4—13, 2020. Those previously registered for the in-person conference will automatically be registered for the event. If you were unable to travel to Austin for the in-person conference, perhaps you can join us now for the virtual version? AWRA’s geospatial conferences are held bi-annually and are among our most popular specialty conferences. With changing technology and large gains in big data collection and analysis, attending this conference is a great way to get up to speed on many water technology topics. The planning team is working hard to bring you the same great presentations and workshops as originally planned – please take a look at the schedule and session descriptions. A special thank you to the planning committee and presenters for staying the course and helping us take this conference to a virtual format. It looks like it will be terrific. Thank you!

Our 2020 Virtual Annual Water Resources Conference is also taking shape with the Planning Committee beginning its review of more than 200 abstracts. The planning team and AWRA staff have made tremendous strides shifting from planning an in-person conference to a virtual setting. The team is working hard to present a conference that will offer both the technical presentations our members and colleagues depend on, as well as multiple opportunities for engagement as are possible in a virtual format.

Our webinar team is working on several webinar series, including on Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO), racial equity and tools to eliminate workplace biases in the water resources profession, and a GIS series. Please visit our upcoming webinars website and sign up if you haven’t already done so. Remember, free registration and access to webinars is a valuable member-only benefit!

Committee Action
AWRA’s Technical Committees are in full swing. The Policy Committee has been particularly active, as has the IWRM Committee. AWRA committees hold meetings throughout the year, share information, propose session ideas for conferences, and occasionally propose and lead conferences. For example, the Policy Committee is working on several ideas for special sessions for the Annual Conference, including sessions on workforce diversity, access, and inclusion; water justice; and a high-level panel on water policy. If you’re interested in connecting with any of our committees, please reach out to one of the committee chairs. And don’t forget to fill out this survey from the Future Risk Committee. Finally – I want to offer my sincerest thank you to members of the ad hoc Virtual Conference and Technology Task Force for their diligent and thorough work helping us select a virtual platform and company for our upcoming conferences. Many hours were spent viewing different platforms, asking key questions, and winnowing final candidates. I can’t thank you enough! I’m sure our presenters and attendees too will greatly appreciate your efforts as we host these first-ever AWRA virtual conferences.

We always appreciate hearing from you. Please feel free to correspond with me directly at Be safe and stay well.

Betsy Cody is the 2020 president of AWRA.


If you actively engage in our community, your career and organization will benefit. We offer multiple opportunities for engagement via conferences, social media, webinars, committees and publications.

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