Perhaps fate is smiling on me...

President's Message | March 2021

As I embark on my year as your AWRA president, the first two issues of Water Resources IMPACT address topics that are near and dear to me. I am proud to introduce yet another powerful issue of Water Resources IMPACT. Guest editor Mike Antos notes, “Managing water separately from land is one of the great missteps of the 20th century.” His words echo my own personal experience as a state and local planner. The growing momentum of the One Water movement reflects a recognition that all of us need to do better. As land and water professionals, we have talked for decades about the dream of integrating land and water management to create resilient communities and natural systems, but we have seldom achieved full implementation of this vision. This issue provides useful examples of successes attained by members of our wider land and water community who have wrestled with the challenges of too little water, too much water, and dirty water.

There is no denying that what happens on the land has a direct relationship with the quality and quantity of our water. “It’s only people who have separated them,” notes Philip Stoker of the University of Arizona in one of the feature articles in this issue. Our professional organizations, regulatory frameworks, and institutional departmental structures create single-purpose silos that undermine our ability to manage land and water holistically. An example of this frustration is the common disconnect between local land use planning and water utility planning. I have witnessed this disconnect, which is vividly described in Heather Hansman’s article.

This issue of Water Resources IMPACT is a companion to the 2021 Virtual Summer Conference: Connecting Land & Water for Healthy Communities, convening July 19–21, 2021. This conference represents a unique collaboration between AWRA and the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy. Registration is now open, and I am confident that you can find something of value for your professional practice in the objectives for this conference. They include

  • bringing diverse professions and professionals together in dialogue
  • learning about land and water integration from communities on the cutting edge
  • strengthening connections between research and practice in our community
  • informing grounded, integrated land and water policy
  • catalyzing collaboration to achieve success
I am excited for all of you to read the articles in this issue and to join us in July at the virtual Connecting Land and Water for Healthy Communities summer specialty conference. The breadth of creativity on display in the stories and projects shared in this issue is encouraging to me. Our membership is poised to achieve remarkable progress for the communities we serve, and the integration of our disparate management efforts is within our grasp. Let us seize the day and recommit to overcoming our perceived differences and working together to manage land and water sustainably!

In closing, I’d like to report on other opportunities available from ARWA. Registration is open for a number of events, so don’t miss your chance to take advantage of the exciting content available to you. If you are an early-career professional or student, space is still available for our three-part Virtual Young Professional Workshop Series. These sessions will provide you with information on negotiating your salary, mastering a multistep interview, becoming an ally in the workplace, building your brand, and much more. That’s not all— registration is also open for the 2021 Virtual Joint AWRA & National Capital Annual Water Symposium, entitled “Human Dimension to Resilient and Sustainable Water Management: Promoting Integrated Collaboration.” This April 15–16 event will focus on the idea of circular economies, managing for the unknown such as the COVID-19 pandemic, social hydrology, environmental justice, and innovations in water resource management.

Finally, with a renewed outlook for the future of AWRA, we are issuing our official call for new board members. Are you someone who strives to make a difference in all that you do? Are you an early-career professional with ideas on addressing the unique needs of your peers? Are you a mid- or late-career professional who feels a calling to give back to the profession? Are you someone who supports AWRA's diversity, equity, and inclusion policy yet feels underrepresented by the current Board of Directors? If you are, then consider this call to apply for AWRA board service. Please visit the Board of Directors Nominations page to read the AWRA Statement of Individual Board Member Responsibilities and to submit your nomination by April 23, 2021.

We always appreciate hearing from you. Be safe and stay well.

Scott Kudlas is the 2021 president of AWRA.


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