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Newsletter #61 for January 24, 2012

Are We Undervaluing Our Water Boards?

A lot of the talk we hear about water boards is about the turnover and the need for ongoing training. Yes, these facts are true; perhaps we can get further by embracing what they can be - a vital link between the water supply, local government and the average member of the community?

The town of Littleville, AL had a water board up until two years ago when a state agreement required it to disband. "Until the end, the Littleville water system was in good financial condition. But pipes have not been repaired on a regular basis and the system is losing up to 40 percent of the water it sells."

A water board as a specialized entity can serve as a powerful mechanism for making better, more informed decisions for a sustainable* future. A specific group focused on specific issues can be more efficient and focused that a village board, for example. The water system can also leverage board members to be their eyes and ears with the community and facilitate communication about the value of public water/sewer.

What would happen if we re-framed the conversation? What if we focused on shedding light on their value and empowering community members to step up and participate? We've linked to some helpful training materials to make the hard parts easier; the rest is up to you!

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But What Should We Write/Talk/Facebook/Blog/Tweet About?

Whenever I am introducing someone to social media, the first thing I am asked is what to talk about. Often I'll hear "But I'm just not that interesting". I'm sure you are far more fascinating than you think, but the benefit of business-related social communication is that you can talk about the work that you love and enjoy.

Right now, there are not very many small utilities in the social space. As we work together to change that, larger utilities, industry organizations and product vendors can serve as role models for what to write about!

Explain the purpose and benefit of a change in your supply like Portland Water
Highlight the contribution of an industry colleague like Franklin Electric
Announce construction and road closures like the City of Richmond, VA
Share meeting minutes and dates for the next meeting like ESRI Team Water/Wastewater
Offer photos of local weather conditions like Big Bear Water

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Video of the Week

In each week's newsletter, starting in 2012, we will highlight an excellent video worth watching. That video will also be featured on our home page during the week.

This week's featured video on CA Grade 1 Wastewater Math is just one in a series from a young California-based wastewater operator who put together these videos as a way to study for his own certifications. The series includes 19 videos for all five grades of wastewater operations. Though they were developed based on the California tests, the lessons are very applicable to wastewater operators nationwide.

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Weekly Reading for January 24, 2012

Each week we'll provide a collection of our favorite links we know you'll love too!

NRWA, Ford partner to offer Rural Water Fleet Program - New program will provide cost savings and flexibility to member small water and wastewater utilities.
Confusion abounds on sewer issues - Lousiana wastewater system attempts to get back on track after being mis-managed.
A war on pollution, not rural Maryland - Governor looks at the big picture of water impacts when considering how to manage rural development.

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SmallWaterSupply.org Calendar

Upcoming Free Webinars

January 26 - Using Water Audits to Understand Water Loss
from US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
This two-hour webinar will introduce water loss control and focus on water audits and the tools and methods to conduct water audits.

January 31 - Metering 101
from National Rural Water Association (NRWA)
This webinar will cover why metering is important, the most common types of water meters, when and how often you should test your meters, and proper meter installation.

Visit SmallWaterSupply.org for more free webinar listings! Never participated in a webinar? Need some help getting registered? Give us a call or send us an email, and we will help walk you through the process.

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About SmallWaterSupply.org

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* SmallWaterSupply.org would like to thank xkcd for making a valid point ...

sustainable

xkcd: A webcomic romance, sarcasm, math and language

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