Water Leadership Institute Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who should apply?
All professionals in the water sector (drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater), whether they be utility staff, consulting engineers or service providers, regulators, academics, or equipment manufacturers are encouraged to apply. The Water Leadership Institute is a program for emerging leaders in the water sector, which may include young professionals, career changers, and veterans, for example. For seasoned utility management professionals looking to move to Executive Management Positions, please see the Water & Wastewater Leadership Center.

Q: When is the application due?
The application for the 2020 class is due by 11:59PM EST, January 9, 2020.The application process will open November 1, 2019.

Q: Is there a fee for the program?
There is no fee to apply to the program.

If you are accepted, you or your organization will be invoiced $1,195 for the program. This fee includes a full conference registration to WEFTEC 2020 in New Orleans (a $725 value), access to 6 live webcasts (a $240 value), and the two-day workshop in Alexandria (a $400 value).  In addition, it includes monthly group chats, homework assignments, and putting together the final project.  Program participants are responsible for all their own travel and hotel costs, as well as any fees for calling in from a phone.

Q: Is there any funding assistance available?
In October 2017, the WEF Board created the George S. Hawkins Scholarship to the WEF Water Leadership Institute. The scholarship will be given annually to one participant in the Water Leadership Institute and highlights George’s commitment to developing future water sector leaders. This scholarship will cover the program’s full tuition.

The WEF Board has approved additional funds which will allow us to offer additional scholarships this year.  These scholarships cover part or all of the tuition cost, and are need based.  Funds will be allocated after the participants have been accepted to the program.  The amount will be deducted from the tuition invoice.  The total amount of funds available in 2020 is a max of 6 full scholarships. 

All scholarships should be applied for via the application to the WLI.

Q: Who will I be learning from?
The curriculum will be delivered by high caliber guest instructors from water and wastewater utilities and companies active in the sector. Guest lecturers from government agencies, communication firms and financial groups will also share their knowledge and experience.

Q: Do I have to be a member of the Water Environment Federation to apply and participate?
 No, you do not have to be a WEF member to apply to the WLI.

Q: What kind of equipment will I need to participate in the in the monthly web meetings?
The web based meetings will be conducted using the Skype for Business product. You will need a computer with and internet connection for the web meetings. You will need computer speakers to use the Voice over IP audio function. You will also need internet access for readings viewing and online forum participation.

Q: What is the goal of the Water Leadership Institute?
As the water sector faces challenges from aging infrastructure, climate change, financial constraints, and increased demands, professionals who can develop and implement solutions to these issues are needed. The Water Leadership Institute is designed to encourage networking, innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional commitment from those individuals who will be leading the water sector into the coming decades, to preserve and enhance water resources for our current generation, as well as future generations.

Q: Who should I contact regarding the Water Leadership Institute?
A: [email protected]

"The Water Leadership Institute is an instrumental program for the development of recent grads in the water field. I was able to gain leadership development training, opportunities for networking, and insight into how utilities will change and evolve in the future."

Tina Pham, P.E.
Associate Engineer
City of San Jose Environmental Services Department
Municipal Water District
San Jose, CA

"The Water Leadership Institute provided me with an unprecedented opportunity for personal and professional growth, amongst a group of talented and passionate water professionals from across the continent."

Justin Waples
Assistant Engineer
Central Contra Sanitary District
Martinez, CA

"The Water Leadership Institute was a door and mind opening experience for me.  Hearing from inspirational leaders and hands on learning with peers around how to build teams, communicate with impact, and collaborate on problem solving was a tremendous opportunity.  With these skills and a greater appreciation for our shared water environment I'm energized to continue to learn and grow in the field."

Jen McDonnell
Casella Organics
Portland, ME