Tom Kunetz, WEF 2018-2019 President, blogs about why WATER’S WORTH IT and more.

At WEFTEC® 2018 in New Orleans, Jenny Hartfelder, WEF immediate past president, relaunched WEF’s Water’s Worth It® campaign. This was welcome news to many members and WEF Member Associations (MAs) who had grown to truly identify with that message. So, it’s worth repeating: water’s worth it!

This message resonates with so many of us because it is more than just a campaign. It is more than a slogan. It is our rallying cry, our raison d’être, or reason for being. We get up every day and go to work, and we volunteer our time to WEF and MAs because water’s worth it.

At its core, this broad-based messaging campaign helps bring attention to the importance of clean water and the infrastructure that supports it as well as the essential work of water professionals. It reveals how our actions, attitudes, and the things we most value are so closely connected with water. Read more about this People–Water Nexus in my October column, “From the President: Activating the People–Water Nexus.”

The goal of the Water’s Worth It campaign is to have the public make a connection between the essential services water professionals provide every day and the things it values most:

  • health and safety,
  • a clean environment,
  • a strong economy,
  • stable job growth, and
  • quality of life.

The campaign is built on five pillars that explain the “why” of Water’s Worth It:

  • our respect,
  • our effort,
  • our passion,
  • our health, and
  • our future.

Together, the five pillars justify how water is a precious, limited resource that needs our care. WEF created a colorful website that describes each of the five pillars in detail and provides fact sheets and messaging materials that you can download and use at your organization or MA. Find these resources at

Read the entire column in the December issue of WEF Highlights

Thomas E. Kunetz, P.E.

WEF 2018-19 President Thomas E. Kunetz

Thomas E. Kunetz is the 2018-2019 President of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Tom is the assistant director of monitoring and research for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, leading the district's efforts on key strategic engineering initiatives. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of environmental engineering in both the public and private sectors, focusing on design of wastewater treatment facilities, improving the water environment, and protection of public health.

A WEF member since 1992, Tom is the past chair of the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Symposium, and served on the Program Committee, and the Municipal Water Resource Recovery Design Committee. He was a member of the Chicago WEFMAX organizing committee, and served on the Stockholm Junior Water Prize organizing committee with the Illinois Water Environment Association.

Tom is a registered professional engineer in the state of Illinois. He is a graduate of the WEF-sponsored Water and Wastewater Leadership Center at the University of North Carolina, the 2012 recipient of the Charles Walter Nichols Award for Environmental Excellence from the American Public Works Association, and a WEF Fellow. He has served as technical advisor to the student chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World at Northwestern University, traveling to Panama with the students.

Tom earned his B.S. in environmental engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in water resources engineering from Villanova University.

Updated Jan. 15, 2019


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