WEF Delegate's Report
WEF Delegate's Report

Since 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and it members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, WEF’s mission is to 1) connect water professionals, 2) Enrich the expertise of water professionals, 3) Increase the awareness of the impact and value of water, and 4) Provide a platform for water sector innovation.

So what is the state of the Federation? As we all know, one of WEF’s goals is to support Member Associations (MAs) across the globe, including CSWEA. WEF is responsible for the planning and execution of WEFTEC, numerous specialty conferences, and a host of other activities that are designed to engage MAs. Recently, WEF developed their Strategic Plan for moving forward. Although WEF is a non-profit organization, it is run as a business to ensure its longevity. Thus, WEF is operating as a sustainable, fiscally responsible business. WEF’s Strategic Plan, which includes Critical Objectives and Strategic Goals, is summarized at the end of this report.

Core Values of Service
WEF has identified the following four core values of service:

  • Leadership
  • Passion
  • Scholarship
  • Collaboration

This article highlights the first of these, the Leadership service area. WEF leaders and the House of Delegates (HOD) are focused on helping the membership thrive by promoting leadership across each of the mission areas.

No matter your view of WEF, there is no doubt that it is the leader in the industry for providing unlimited possibilities for professional growth. Unlimited in the sense that CSWEA will support unique ideas and leaders that align with our goals. From a national perspective, CSWEA is an elite member association, so don’t overlook opportunities for leadership when opportunity knocks.

WEF/WE&RF Lift Affiliate
As an example of how CSWEA plans to continue providing its leaders the best information, CSWEA is actively pursuing membership as a WEF/WE&RF LIFT Affiliate. LIFT, the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology helps to provide many of the above mentioned goals as useful information about the industries latest research and technology. As a MA LIFT Affiliate, CSWEA will serve as a link between the utilities, universities, and LIFT projects to ensure our members are aware of opportunities that work towards our common goals.

House of Delegates Meeting
At WEFTEC, Eric and Doug attended the HOD Meeting, where the 2016 Progress Report was unveiled. Although it may seem that WEF is a well-oiled machine, WEF is still finding ways to further improve the sustainability of the organization. This year’s business plan was modified to become a 3-year Business Plan for longer term budgeting and planning. The 2017-2019 Business Plan provides WEF leaders, staff, and committees direction for implementing practices that best satisfy our members’ interests.

Although WEFTEC 2016 in New Orleans was not a record-breaking conference, it was very well attended, and WEF remains very strong financially compared to other non-profit organizations. In recent years, WEF has made great strides towards diversifying and is close to obtaining a target of 50% reserve funds by 2020. In the financial report, WEF identified several ways to increase revenue, including: targeting new members and conferences in stormwater and water resources or from operator certification courses. While WEF develops these and other new sources of income, a dues increase of 5% for WEF membership will occur in January 2017.

WEF’s 2017-2019 Business Plan also set a few priorities, each of which aim to address WEF’s mission statements:

  • Membership growth & diversity
  • Aging infrastructure & workforces
  • Young professional development
  • Sustainable utility revenue business models
  • Finalizing and promoting publications for the Water Reuse Roadmap, the Nutrient Roadmap, and the Energy Roadmap
  • Strengthening WEF’s partnerships with MAs and the Water Reuse Association, as well as reaching out to international organizations in Germany/European Union, Korea, Denmark, and Singapore to connect water professionals
  • Investing in services for members and MAs while maintaining a sustainable and nimble business model

Priorities during this term of the 2017-2019 Business Plan that are applicable to CSWEA were identified as:

  • Membership Growth - WEF is currently working with CSWEA to offer an introductory free one-year membership to non-members from our 3 states who attend WEFTEC 2017.
  • Increase Offerings - Increasing diversity and expanding practice growth areas to strengthen the operations challenge, biosolids, resource recovery, and pursue opportunities in operator certification, including the development of national certification standards.
  • Stress Public Education - Sharing WEF’s recent initiative to help everyone understand the value of water.
  • Accelerate Resource Recovery - WEF’s publications and LIFT program are structured to educate and bring cutting edge technologies to the end-users, which will expedite the implementation of sustainable practices. WEF is also encouraging municipalities to use the term Resource Recovery facility to better reflect our purpose.
  • WEFTEC Relevance - Historically, WEFTEC has been THE location for high-quality expertise and unprecedented exhibitor displays in the water industry. WEF intends to better promote these characteristics and avoid complacency.

WEF has taken a fiscally responsible approach to expanding its 3-Year Business Plan to pursue these priorities, by utilizing excess profits and retiring previous strategic items.

Finally, Four (4) locations have been chosen to host WEFMAX in 2017. WEFMAX offers an opportunity for MA leaders at all levels to join together, share success stories and ideas on how MA members can be better served. These fast paced, interactive meetings are open to all members and provide for both enlightenment and networking with other leaders of the water profession from throughout North America and beyond. The locations and dates are as follows:

  • March 29-31, 2017: San Juan, Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico W&EA)
  • April 26-27, 2017: Cincinnati, OH (Host is Ohio WEA)
  • May 10-12, 2017: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Cannada (Host is Western Canada WEA)
  • May 31-June 2, 2017: Austin, TX (Host is WEA of Texas)

All are encouraged to attend at least one of these events.

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