Reflections from the President
Posted October 3, 2010
By Paul Freedman, 2009-2010 President of WEF
During my years as a WEF officer, I’ve traveled across North America and around the globe, meeting and talking with water professionals. Often, I am asked what these experiences have taught me, so I thought I should share a few reflections for my final blog and last Highlights column.
I’ve found that water professionals are a special breed, no matter where you go. Our fellow professionals are dedicated to public service and protecting public health and the environment, and they’re inspired by the challenge of turning water and pollution into valuable resources. Maybe that’s why I’ve found water professionals to be such an open, friendly, and fun group of people.
Note that I call us ‘water professionals,’ not wastewater or drinking water professionals. That’s because there is only water, a resource to be considered holistically and protected for human, ecologic, and economic benefit.
We water professionals are presented with a challenge this century as population growth and water demands skyrocket. Our approach to water management comes from a time when water was generally abundant and the mentality was to use it and dispose of it, drain it, and sometimes treat it--all with the goal to get water out of our fields and cities. Well today we need to invent whole new paradigms of how water and waste are managed in agriculture, industry, and society. And we’ll have to develop approaches and technologies that treat water as a precious renewable resource that can be integrated into our city management strategies as a feature and a resource.
I want to thank all of you for the honor and privilege to have served as your president, allowing me to have the time of my life while working to provide bold leadership, champion innovation, connect water professionals, and leverage knowledge to support clean and safe water worldwide.