January 22, 2018 - WEF President Jenny Hartfelder blogs about WEF's promotion of funding and policies that advance water science and research.

The collective success of the water sector would be impossible without science and research – the foundation of every drop of clean and reliable water that we provide. Science, research, and other related terms are among the most commonly heard words at any meeting or conference on water issues. Without investment in these areas, we will not be able to promote the recovery of valuable resources from water, use technology to transform infrastructure for the 21st century, or build resilience to the increasing effects of climate change.

That is why the Water Environment Federation boasts a proud legacy of supporting science and research. We are proud that leading researchers have continued to be active in our organization throughout its history. Our members understand the importance of science-based decision-making, maintaining and expanding effective programs, and providing a platform for constructive debate.

For decades, WEF, its members, and our network of Member Associations has promoted funding and policies that advance water science and research. Here are just a few examples: 

  • WEF sent a letter to then-President-Elect Trump emphasizing sound science and the need to bolster research and development. Congress also received letters sent or cosigned by WEF asking for increased water infrastructure funding and full funding for core programs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies conducting research.
  • For Water Week 2017, WEF and eight other national water associations drafted a joint document requesting that Congress and the administration fully fund EPA’s National Priorities Research Funding program. WEF took the lead on a separate fact sheet on climate change as an additional resource for 400 congressional office visits completed by our members and those from other water associations. 
  • An ongoing call-to-action through WEF’s grassroots Water Advocates program urges WEF’s members to write to Congress arguing against cuts to EPA and other federal programs. 
  • A recent letter urged Congress to protect funding for federal research that is critical to addressing challenges facing the nation’s water resources. 

WEF also applauded the recent announcement that the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and Water Research Foundation would merge into one water research organization. Both foundations have a rich history of effective and impactful research supporting the water profession. Their integration will undoubtedly create more synergy and lead to fruitful partnerships.

All parts of the water sector and WEF’s membership, including utility managers, facility operators, engineers, scientists, regulators, and students, share in the benefits of research and innovation. Together, we need to support robust science and advocate for research funding, and let the water sector know about our efforts.

Excerpted from WEF Highlights, Dec. 19, 2017, “From the President.” Read the entire article.

About Jenny Hartfelder, P.E., PMP

Jenny Hartfelder is the 2017-2018 President of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Jenny is currently a vice president with Stantec, and serves as a national campaign manager out of Denver, Colorado. In this role, she provides strategic planning and leadership for the business development activities for the water sector across the United States. She also serves as a project manager and design engineer on numerous water and wastewater projects including utility privatization, master plans, preliminary and detailed designs, and engineering services during construction.

A WEF member since 1997, Jenny has held multiple leadership and committee roles within the Federation. She has served on the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) Committee and the Public Communications and Outreach Committee for many years, chairing the SJWP Committee. Jenny also has served in the House of Delegates as the Speaker of the House and as a member of several HOD workgroups and committees. She is a member of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers and a recipient of the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award.

Also an active member of the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association, Jenny chaired several committees including Public Education, Nominations, Awards, and the Joint Annual Conference committees, and has moved through the MA officer chairs serving as the president from 2006 to 2007.

Jenny is a registered professional engineer in the states of Colorado and Washington and is certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a Project Management Professional (PMP). She received a B.S. in civil engineering in 1990 from Michigan Technological University, and an M.S. in civil engineering in 2002 from the University of Colorado-Denver.

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1These blogs offer the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy of the organization.