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Value of Water - Texas

Posted By Karen E. Menard, Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Education Division – Consumer Outreach Committee Blog


All Things H2O                                     April 2017 Issue


Value of Water – Texas


It’s April in Texas which means the wildflowers are starting to bloom and we are just days away from the largest regional water conference in the nation, the Texas Water Conference, a week long program hosted by the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT) and the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association (TAWWA) to showcase what’s new in water/wastewater and provide networking opportunities for industry professionals.  This year the conference will take place the week of April 10th in Austin and thousands of attendees will flood the Capitol city to walk the exhibit hall, attend technical presentations and have a little fun on the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

For the 4th year in a row, we are excited to announce the lineup for the Value of Water Program – a half-day session that is devoted to promoting water education in Texas and providing a collaborative environment for water education and outreach professionals across the nation.  The program this year is poised to offer attendees a detailed look at diversifying their water education tool box, but first, let’s take a look back at the successful history of the Value of Water Program.


  1. 2013 | TAWWA Education Division volunteers have a vision to create a new program at the Texas Water Conference that caters to water education professionals and fosters an environment of learning and exchange of information from an outreach and communication perspective.  Members of the Consumer Outreach Committee lead the planning charge and begin recruiting speakers and laying the groundwork for the program to debut at Texas Water 2014 in Dallas, Texas.


  2. 2014 | The program debuts under the name ‘One Water, Many Stories’ and features water education specialists from some of the largest utilities in Texas including Dallas Water Utilities, San Antonio Water Systems and El Paso Water Utilities.  The program is well attended and volunteers are impassioned to make sure the program becomes an annual event.                                                                                                                                                                                      


  3. 2015 | TAWWA partners with WEAT to embrace the ‘one water’ concept and produces the second addition of ‘One Water, Many Stories’ featuring the Public Works Director from the City of Wichita Falls, the Public Information Coordinator at El Paso Water Utilities and the Woodlands Division Manager at San Jacinto River Authority.  The session concludes with a collaborative panel discussion and a visit from San Jacinto River Authority’s Patty Potty character.  Thanks to the passion of the presenters and the dedication of the WEAT/TAWWA volunteers, the program is a huge success and takes home the prestigious AWWA Section Education Award at the 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition in Chicago.

  4.  2016 | TAWWA/WEAT are given the opportunity to partner with the Value of Water Coalition; a group of non-profit, private and public entities working together to build national messaging to achieve water awareness and support from the public for our infrastructure needs. The program name is changed to Value of Water – Texas and the 2016 program is headlined by WEF delegate Dr. Eileen O’Neill and presenters include the Utility Directors from the City of San Angelo, a Water Education Director from San Antonio Water Systems, and the entire water education outreach staff at the City of Frisco.  Presentations take on a new dimension as speakers integrate skits, social media and untraditional presentation formats to reach a diverse audience.                                                                                                                                                   

  5.  Early 2017 | The Value of Water Program is given an entire half day timeslot at the conference and selects 6 abstracts to headline the program.  The program is expanded to include consultants as well as utilities to bring a new perspective.


Which brings us to April of 2017 at the eve of the conference.  This year we are excited to announce the Value of Water Program – Creating a Diverse Toolbox, with a lineup that includes utilities and consultants highlighting the challenging water education issues in their regions and the diverse solutions they have developed.  Please read on for the program line up, we hope to see you at the conference!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

  • 8:30 a.m. Rate Case Messaging: The Character/Competency Conundrum (Hahn Public Communications)

  • 9:00 a.m. H2O Conservation Education that Works: All About the TEKS (City of Allen)

  • 9:30 a.m. Public Outreach Grass Tops and Roots: Applying Florida Potable Reuse Lessons Learned (Tetra Tech)

  • 10:30 a.m. “What’s on your Mind?” – Utilizing Web-Based Media for a Large Residential Construction Project #socialmediaworks (Dallas Water Utilities)

  • 11:00 a.m. Partnerships and Communication Strategies for Successful Drought Response: Case Studies and BMPs, EPA Drought Response Guide, Susan Butler (CH2M)

  • 11:30 a.m.  Water Wise Workshops – Water Conservation & Watershed Protection (City of Frisco)

When the Public Outreach Committee started planning for a special Texas Water Program back in 2013, I’m not sure they knew what they were getting themselves into, but I do know they took on a mission to promote water education in Texas and have not looked back since.  Countless hours, perseverance and passion have led to a conference program that includes a partnership with three organizations and presenters from utilities across the nation of all shapes and sizes with issues as diverse as their populations.  In a state as big as Texas, it can be hard to feel like you are even beginning to scratch the surface on a mission as critical as the nation’s infrastructure and the public’s perception of the value of water, but I hope the above timeline inspires those involved and those yet to be involved to stay the course and be reminded that their volunteer efforts are truly making a positive impact to water education in Texas. 

If you would like to get involved with the Value of Water Program, please email co-chairs Grace Wike or Sharon Miller  For those of you who have been along for the ride and continue to volunteer with the Division, thanks for your continued dedication and your passion for water.  I think we can all agree the best part of the Value of Water program has been the network we have created along the way and the great people we have been so privileged to work alongside.  See you at the conference!

About the Author:


Since the day she met Christianne Castleberry at Flipnotics in Austin, Texas, Grace Wike has been a member of the Education Division and co-chairs the Value of Water Program at Texas Water.  She is also the treasurer of the North Texas Section of the Water Environment Association of Texas, the coordinator of the Texas Shootout ‘Fastest Saw in Texas’ competition, and a national judge for the Operation’s Challenge Collection’s Event.  Grace is a project manager at Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam, Inc. in Dallas, Texas, and works on infrastructure projects across the state.  She is engaged to be married to her best friend, a fellow water nerd in June, and loves travelling the world, hiking in Big Bend, and riding her bike down mountains.

Tags:  ch2m  city of allen  city of frisco  dallas water utilities  hahn public  tetra tech  texas water 2017  value of water 

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