WEF commits to one voice for water, passes resolution to explore partnerships

The Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to approve a resolution to explore the benefits and opportunities of developing a single water association to represent water professionals and resources within North America. Intended to foster discussions with the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the resolution was not approved by AWWA's Board of Directors the next day...

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Jan. 26, 2007 -- The Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to approve a resolution to explore the benefits and opportunities of developing a single water association to represent water professionals and resources within North America.

Intended to foster discussions with the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the resolution was not approved by AWWA's Board of Directors the next day.

"WEF strongly believes that ensuring one strong voice for water would better serve our members and our communities by strengthening clean water initiatives in protecting public health and the environment," said WEF President Mohamed Dahab. "We are disappointed we have lost this opportunity with AWWA for now, but the Federation remains committed to moving forward to partner with water organizations in and outside North America to achieve this vision."

AWWA President Terry Rolan said the AWWA Board wants an ongoing dialogue with WEF leadership to "achieve a more coordinated voice for the water community."

"While the AWWA board felt a WEF proposal to advance toward a single water organization was premature, AWWA believes this continuing conversation will serve both organizations well and may illuminate unseen opportunities where they exist," Rolan said.

The WEF Board of Trustees believes the current divide between water supply and water quality pervades many aspects of the water community, leaving gaps in the protection of public health that other, less specialized groups will fill. In particular, the international community looks to North America for technical advances and leadership in water policy. An integrated approach to water management in North America would no doubt significantly increase influence on both domestic and international water policies and be capable of providing unrivaled leadership in addressing the global water challenge.

WEF is committed to its vision of "preserving and enhancing the global water environment" and will continue to seek new opportunities of providing leadership and technical expertise to water professionals around the world, Dahab said.

"The American Water Works Association (AWWA) appreciates the Water Environment Federation's hope to be more closely aligned with AWWA in the future. As the largest organization of water professionals in the world, including more than 4,600 utilities across North America, AWWA is committed to achieving business efficiencies that serve the water community and the public," Rolan said.

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association (www.awwa.org) is the world's largest and oldest water organization, with headquarters in Denver, CO, and 43 sections across Canada, the United States and Mexico. AWWA is one of the most authoritative resources for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. It advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the water community.

Formed in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (www.wef.org) has 36,000 members and 76 Member Associations in 30 countries. Perhaps best known as the creator and sponsor of WEFTEC -- the largest annual water quality exhibition in the world -- WEF provides numerous educational programs, technical training materials and publications for the water quality community. Most recently, it acquired World Water & Environmental Engineering and formed WEF Publishing UK Ltd. (WEFP), a wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary in central London.

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