NRWA Opens 2016 Rural Water Rally

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A packed crowd greeted Congressman Tom Cole and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack with standing ovations during the opening of the National Rural Water Association’s annual Rural Water Rally today in Washington D.C.

Cole, a Republican representative from Oklahoma, praised the quality of Rural Water programs and the “bang for the buck” they provide. He warned, however, that growing federal deficits were forcing Congress to make difficult spending choices.

“The programs that you’re interested in, again, these are high value for low cost,” he said. “It shouldn’t be something that we have to struggle for, but we do because entitlement programs keep squeezing out discretionary spending.”

Congressman Cole insisted that Congress and the next President would have to make hard choices about issues like Social Security, the deficit and the tax code. He added that they would have to make those choices without limiting critical programs, like those that support clean drinking water.

“The people in Flint, Mich. can tell you that if someone isn’t doing this job, the consequences of it are terrible,” Cole said.

IMG_9505Secretary Vilsack also spoke about budget difficulties, though his remarks explained how funding choices, even within the same department, could impact other programs.

“One of the challenges is budget,” Vilsack said. “You may not think that your situation is related to the Forest Service budget, but it is. When we increase spending on fire suppression, it means we have to reduce resources and investment in another part of our budget.”

The secretary explained that the challenge was not just encouraging Congress to fully fund the water programs, but to also fix the fire budget. In response to the demands of the tightening budget, USDA started an effort to recruit investment banks and pension funds to invest in rural water projects.

Vilsack’s speech did not focus on the challenges Rural Water faced, but explained why it was important to preserve and promote rural America. He explained that unemployment is slightly higher in rural areas and that poverty is more persistent – 85% of persistent poverty counties are rural counties.

“Rural America is not just the place where we get our food, not just the place almost all the feedstock for the energy we consume comes from, it’s also the place where a disproportionate number of our men and women serving the military come from,” Vilsack said.

More that 44 percent of military recruits come from rural communities. Vilsack believes that rural young people are not enlisting only to find economic opportunity, but because of a value system in rural America.

“People who work the land understand that you have to give something back,” he explained. “It’s a value worth keeping.”

NRWA President Charles Hilton opened the Rally by recounting how the community of Breezy Hill SouthIMG_9485 Carolina started a water utility in 1968 with a $500,000 loan. At first, that system served 297 taps, but it has grown to service 5,500 customers and is valued at over $10 million. That water system, in Hilton’s hometown, has also brought in over a billion dollars in economic development.

Hilton reminded the gathered utility professionals that their voice was what had made Rural Water so successful.

“National Rural Water has no power or credibility on its own,” he explained. “It is through the grass roots efforts of our members that we have been successful.”

Rally Photo Gallery

Support Rural Water using #highqualityh2o


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Rural Water Association will begin their annual Rural Water Rally today in Washington, D.C., gathering members from across the country to advocate for water system funding and affordable water regulations. You can help show your support for the goals of clean, reliable and affordable water, even if you couldn’t make the trip to Washington.

NRWA’s #highqualityh2o gives everyone an opportunity to voice their support for Rural Water and its efforts to provide clean drinking water, protect our environment and support small communities. The association is asking supporters to post or Tweet why they support Rural Water and include the hashtag #highqualityh2o.

For Example:

Rural Water ensures my family has clean, affordable drinking water. #highqualityh2o

Posted by Chris Wilson on Friday, February 5, 2016

 

Get more information about how you can participate in the social media campaign at nrwa.org/rally/

NYRWA finds Houghton leak over Holiday


HOUGHTON, N.Y. – The holiday’s typically come with a change of pace – business slows down, employees take vacation and college students move back home. That slowed pace make the holidays a perfect time for utility repairs.

On December 30, the New York Rural Water Association received a call from David Stenzel, Superintendent of the Caneadea, Houghton Water District. The district served a population of just over 2,000, including Houghton College, a small Christian liberal arts college. The utility had a leak in a 10-inch cast iron water main that needed to be located. It was suspected the leak was under a major intersection.

“Pinpointing the leak was critical, due to the size of the intersection and its proximity to the collage and a nursing home,” explained NYRWA Circuit Rider Fred Holley.

Holley and Stenzel began working on New Year’s Eve, working to locate the leak. They were able to narrow the location to a four by eight foot area of the intersection. Holley’s assistance prevent the utility from having to excavate a larger area, causing greater cost and service disruption. We help from NYRWA, the repair was completed without blocking any traffic, or breaking anyone’s holiday plans.

“The job was done by noon and we were all able to enjoy the holiday with our friends and family,” Holley said.

NRWA Statement on Lead Contamination


There are approximately 52,000 community drinking water supplies in the nation, and 92% serve populations of 10,000 or less. Rural and small water systems do an excellent job in complying with all of the regulatory requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, including compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). The LCR is one of EPA’s most complex water regulations, and all water systems must comply with these standards.

The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and its state association affiliates provide compliance training and technical assistance to approximately 100,000 rural and small water system personnel annually, including training and assistance on meeting lead and copper standards. Our expert staff has never encountered system personnel advocating a plan to intentionally skirt a rule or requirement. The men and women of Rural Water are deeply tied to our communities – our friends, family and our children all drink the water we produce. If someone did intentionally violate a rule, change a record or falsify a test result, they could face numerous penalties, including criminal prosecution.

The United States enjoys one of the safest tap water supplies in the world, due to the hard work and dedication of certified system operations specialists. The motto of the rural and small water system industry is “Quality on Tap – Our Commitment, Our Profession.” It is a commitment we all take very seriously, not just because of the serious regulatory consequences of failing to comply with standards, but because of the personal conviction we have, knowing how our water impacts our families and our communities.

 

Alabama Rural Water assists Beauregard


20160120_130250aBEAUREGARD, Ala. – When a massive leak threatened to put thousands of the Beauregard Water Authority’s customers out of service, the small water utility contacted the Alabama Rural Water Association. Beauregard was losing 2,418 gallons per minute, leaving a third of the system on low pressure and threatening to completely drain the water tanks.

ARWA Circuit Riders Andrew Crawford and Rob White IV immediately began working with utility personnel on a plan to maintain the water supply until the leak could be located.

“We divided the distribution system in half,” Crawford explained. “Half of the service area was supplied by the Beauregard wells and the other half through an emergency connection with Opelika Utilities.”

Dividing the system helped maintain water pressure while the Circuit Riders searched for the leak.

“We searched for two days and nights before we found the leak in a six-inch water main,” White said. “We estimate the leak was costing the water authority for $17,000 per day.”

Once the leak was located, utility crews began making repairs. The personnel and equipment Alabama Rural Water provided helped keep water flowing to 3,000 people and saved the water authority thousands of dollars per day.

Introduction to Sustainable Utility Management for Small and Rural Water and Wastewater Systems: 2 p.m. CST Feb. 18, 2016


Introduction to Sustainable Utility Management for Small and Rural Water and Wastewater Systems has been scheduled for 2 p.m. CST on Feb. 18, 2016. Register Now

This webinar will provide an introduction to Sustainable Utility Management and provide information on the 10 key management areas. The presentation will also include information to help address small water and wastewater system management concerns and improve system operations.

Presented by Mahana Gomes, executive director of the Hawaii Rural Water Association.

Cyber Security: Data Breach: 2 p.m. CST Jan. 21st


Cyber Security: Data Breach has been scheduled for 2 p.m. CST on Jan. 21, 2016.  Register Now

At least 26 data breaches occur every second of every day. Small and midsize businesses are the top targets of cyber criminals. With sensitive information from customers and employees at risk, companies face many unique challenges in protecting their data. This webinar will look at Cyber Security, data breach coverage and the impact a data breach can have on your business. This webinar will also look at the impact that a data breach has on your customers and your ability to recover after an attack.

Presented by Janet Smith of  Bailey Special Risks, Inc.

 

2016 Rural Water Rally Registration Open; Join the #highqualityh2o Campaign


DUNCAN, Okla. – Attendee are registering for the 2016 Rural Water Rally at www.nrwa.org/rally. The rally will be held Feb. 8 -10 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington D.C.

This year, NRWA is sponsoring a social media campaign that coincides with the rally. Anyone interested in supporting rural water is encouraged to share a Tweet or Facebook post with the hashtag #highqualityh2o.

“The primary strength of Rural Water is the day-to-day hard work of small utility staff,” explained NRWA CEO Sam Wade. “Not everyone can make a trip to Washington, D.C., but this campaign will give everyone a chance to be the voice of rural water and show their support for clean, safe drinking water.”

Campaign details are available on the rally website, including links that allow individuals to sign-up for reminders to post during the rally. There is also a letter writing campaign that will allow utilities who cannot attend the rally to voice their support for rural water.

The Annual Great American Water Taste Test will be held at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Entries will be taken from utilities across the nation that have won their state association’s taste test.

USDA Offers Support to Utilities Facing El Niño


2015ElNinoWinterImpacts_NorthAmericaWASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Agriculture is offering support to rural utilities that may be impacted by this year’s predicted El Niño climate conditions.

El Niño is defined by prolonged warming in the Pacific Ocean surface temperatures. This warming creates a disruption in the ocean-atmosphere system, impacting weather across the globe. Winters, during the El Niño effect, are warmer and drier than average in the Northwest, northern Midwest, and upper Northeast United States, so those regions experience reduced snowfalls. Meanwhile, significantly wetter winters are present in the southwest United States, including central and southern California, while both cooler and wetter than average winters in the Southeastern United States. Drought and fire in the west may have also destroyed vegetation that would reduce peak runoff from heavy precipitation, increasing the risks of flooding.

USDA is advising communities to review their vulnerability assessments, test any emergency equipment, perform a flash flood exercise and move any response and recovery equipment to high ground. Rural Water Associations in each state can help utilities prepare and can provide assistance in case of emergency.

The USDA has released a document detailing the potential risk and resources for utilities. Click to view the PDF

NRWA opens Rally Registration; Announces new social media campaign


DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association opened registration for the 2016 Rural Water Rally today. The rally will be held Feb. 8 -10 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington D.C. Those interested in attending the rally can register at www.nrwa.org/rally.

This year, NRWA is sponsoring a social media campaign that coincides with the rally. Anyone interested in supporting rural water is encouraged to share a Tweet or Facebook post with the hashtag #highqualityh2o.

“The primary strength of Rural Water is the day-to-day hard work of small utility staff,” explained NRWA CEO Sam Wade. “Not everyone can make a trip to Washington, D.C., but this campaign will give everyone a chance to be the voice of rural water and show their support for clean, safe drinking water.”

Campaign details are available on the rally website, including links that allow individuals to sign-up for reminders to post during the rally. There is also a letter writing campaign that will allow utilities who cannot attend the rally to voice their support for rural water.

The Annual Great American Water Taste Test will be held at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Entries will be taken from utilities across the nation that have won their state association’s taste test.