NRWA President Doug Anderton of Georgia began the opening by thanking staff of government agencies that were not able to attend the conference because of the recent government shutdown. His remarks include thanks for RUS Administrator John Padalino, Assistant Administrator Jackie Ponti-Jazaruk, Director of the EPS Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water Dr. Peter Grevatt, Department of Energy Senior Advisor for Clean Energy and Rural Development LeAnn M. Oliver.
“We would have lost 11 Circuit Riders last year without Jackie,” Anderton said. Circuit Riders are roving water professionals that provide technical assistance and training to systems in every state.
“Do you like delivering your CCR electronically?” Anderson asked the crowd of several thousand water and wastewater professionals. “Dr. Grevatt assisted with those efforts.”
One of rural water’s efforts the past year was the ability to deliver mandated Consumer Confidence Reports electronically. Previous those reports were required to be mailed to every customer a water system served. The change is expected to save utilities millions of dollars in cost annually.
This was only one effort were rural water had success during 2013. NRWA has also expanded its source water protection program to every state for the first time. This year’s advancements are considered a special achievement, since they were made in a challenging political and economic environment.
“We’ve had a lot of success in D.C. when a lot of others have not,” Anderton said.
A great deal of that success had been attributed to the individual efforts of water professionals that work tirelessly in the effort to supply their communities with clean drinking water, and who are willing to tell their story.
“Our success is because of each and every one of you,” Anderton said.
Anderton also thanked NRWA’s sponsors CoBank, USABlueBook, HD Supply, CST Storage Aquastore and Ford Meter Box. Their sponsorship supports NRWA activities year-round.
The combined opening session and awards ceremony capped the first day of the conference, which started that morning.