I am tremendously excited to introduce this issue of Water Resources IMPACT...

President's Message | August 2021

I am tremendously excited to introduce this issue of Water Resources IMPACT authored entirely by some of our up-and-coming young professionals. During my year as president, the Board of Directors has emphasized our desire to make AWRA a welcoming place for underrepresented populations and early-career professionals. By attracting more members from these populations, we can only increase the strength of our community, the depth of our understanding, and the richness of our dialogue. This issue is a showcase of articles by young people who are early in their careers. After reading the diversity of ideas and depth of thought contained in this issue, I can see that we have much young talent to draw upon.

I want to take a moment to highlight the articles by Sashoy Milton, Gabriel Bendat, and Hannah Whitley. I was struck by how their very different stories and locales still resulted in a deeply human and universal relationship to water. Read on and discover the true meaning of water from their diverse perspectives. I also challenge you to read Jack Rumery’s piece and not find yourself transported back to a time and place in your life that shaped your relationship to water. Reading Connie Ho’s article reminded me of the many people I have met as AWRA members who found themselves in the water profession through circuitous and sometimes unexpected pathways. While their journeys may have had twists and turns, they all found their calling in our water community. Finally, don’t miss the articles by Lindsey Blodgett and Holly Mondo. They both share passionate, yet practical, perspectives on making the most of different voices in our groups and group processes. Enjoy these articles and the others in this issue for a taste of the perspectives of the next generation of emerging water leaders.

Moving on to some AWRA-related news, I hope you had the opportunity to attend the Summer Conference, “Connecting Land & Water for Healthy Communities” (featured in the March issue of IMPACT), which brought together stakeholders from multiple disciplines to address the design, integration, and implementation of programs necessary to better connect land and water planning and policy. I want to thank the conference committee co-chairs, Jim Holway of the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy and our own Sharon Megdal of the University of Arizona. Thanks also go to program committee co-chairs Faith Sternlieb, also of the Babbitt Center, and Michael Campana of Oregon State University. Thank you too to all the other members of their committees, our finance co-chair, and all the members of our host committee. We had an exciting event, and some interesting things may come out of it in the future.

As I noted in my last President’s Message, we have a tremendously deep slate of qualified individuals running for the Board of Directors and officer positions. Given that there are so many great people to choose from, I am confident the Board will be getting some talented new members. If you are eligible to vote, you have already received instructions on how to do so. Please take the opportunity to select the individuals you want to represent you on the Board. Votes are accepted until August 13. We plan a formal introduction to the membership in November at the Annual Water Resources Conference.

Speaking of the AWRA 2021 Annual Water Resources Conference, we are continuing full-scale planning for what we expect will be another fantastic AWRA event. We are still hoping to be able to meet in person November 8–10, 2021, in sunny Kissimmee, Florida (in the Orlando area), where our dedicated conference planning team has developed another packed technical program, with some fantastic field trips and workshops. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and will inform you of any changes to this plan should the need arise. To find out more about the conference, click here. Please register now, as you will not want to miss it!

I conclude this message by informing you of another action taken by the Board at its last meeting: we will be creating a Membership Committee. This committee, to be made up of Board members and non-Board members, will assist the Board in promoting the benefits of AWRA membership, including identifying issues important to AWRA members, evaluating current and potential products and services, and developing ideas for enhancing the value of AWRA membership benefits. Stay tuned for more to come on this exciting opportunity to serve your association. That’s all for now—I hope to see you all in November at the Annual Water Resources Conference in sunny Florida!

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

Scott Kudlas is the 2021 president of AWRA.


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