My Final Message for IMPACT 2020

President's Message | November 2020

It's hard to believe this will be the last President's message I'm penning in IMPACT for 2020. The year started on a high note featuring editions on Water Infrastructure Resilience and Geospatial Water Technology (see archived issues), but quickly turned as AWRA and its members switched to survival mode as COVID-19 hit early last spring. The AWRA culture embraces shared research and information, networking, and camaraderie, or – “community, conversation, and connection” – through in-person conferences, membership platforms, IMPACT and our award-winning Journal – the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Except for our publications, AWRA’s historic activities did not jive well with COVID-19 protocols. Further, with membership renewals linked closely to conference attendance, AWRA, like many other associations, was confronted with drastically reduced revenue. Yet we had obligations to host a conference already planned, to continue to serve our members through our publications, and to carry on in our mission, including bringing you the AWRA Annual Conference that so many depend on each year.

I’m proud to say that through hard work and perseverance by two expert planning committees and AWRA staff, we were able to switch gears and hold our 2020 Virtual Geospatial Water Technology Conference in August and as you receive this issue, the 2020 AWRA Virtual Annual Water Resources Conference, November 9-11 (with pre-conference workshops held on November 8), is in progress. Thanks to our Annual Conference Planning Committee co-chaired by Don Duke, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Roger Copp, Water Science Associates, and the rest of the Florida Planning Committee and AWRA staff – we’re bringing you what I firmly believe is the next-best thing to an in-person Annual Conference. Please visit the conference site and see for yourself.

Jan Peelen (Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management, Netherlands Embassy in Washington DC), an internationally known expert on water resources resilience, planning, and infrastructure, kicked off the three-day conference November 9. Peelen’s keynote was followed by several panel discussions and technical sessions stretching through November 11. The AWRA Planning Committee hosts three featured panel discussions:

  • Water Beyond Politics: Long-term Policy Strategies featuring veteran water resources experts Ben Grumbles (Maryland Secretary of the Environment), Tracy Mehan (American Water Works Association), and Sue Lowry (Interstate Council on Water Policy),
  • International Policy to Address Climate Change and Water Security, featuring Jay Famiglietti (Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan) Fred Lipschultz (U.S. Global Change Research Program), and Diana Liverman (University of Arizona), and
  • Water Justice: Issues and Potential Solutions, Parts I and II featuring Alexis Schulman (Drexel University), Dennis Chestnut ( Creekside LLC), Karletta Chief (University of Arizona), Andy Kricun (Moonshot Missions and U.S. Water Alliance), and Charles Lee (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
Also, hope you were able to attend the pre-conference workshops including:
  • Water Conflict Management and Transformation featuring internationally renowned water conflict expert Aaron Wolf (Oregon State University) and colleagues Todd Jarvis (Oregon State University), and Todd Votteler (University of Texas and Texas Water Journal), and
  • Floods to Droughts: Teaching Undergraduates About Water Issues Using Data, Modeling, & Math with Venkatesh Merwade (Purdue University) and Beth Pratt-Sitaula (UNAVCO).
I hope you'll take a close look at this special issue of Water Resources IMPACT. It includes several articles on Florida water resource programs, including case studies, and an update on the Arizona groundwater management program. The pictures alone make me long for an in-person visit to the State’s many springs. Many of the programs summarized in this issue are aimed at protecting these natural wonders while also serving multiple off-stream and in-stream uses. While we cannot be together in person this year, I hope you’ll also make time to check out the Annual Conference’s
virtual field trips and workshops, as well as the many “engagement breaks” and other interactive events.

Thank you for your continued support as AWRA Members during this difficult year and thank you too to all our volunteers too numerous to name. We’re definitely in this together.

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.


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