Dr. Bill Deutsch, AWWA Board of Directors
The Alabama Water Watch Association (AWWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to support the goals of the AWW Program. In the coming months we will be introducing you to our Board of Directors and helping you gain a better understanding of this organization through a series of blog articles. If you would like to know more about joining the AWWA contact one of our Board Members or visit the “Support AWW” section of our homepage.
Like a couple of others on the Alabama Water Watch Association (AWWA) Board of Directors, I’ve been with things from the beginning of our “experiment” with community-based water monitoring. As the AWW Program Director at Auburn University, I’ve given countless updates about AWW’s progress at virtually all of our Board meetings. It has been a pleasure to share the positive news of our growth and impacts…new monitoring groups formed, additional sampling sites and data records, success stories of cleaning up pollution, and new ways to provide environmental education to Alabama kids. The “experiment” was a success, and thousands of Alabamians have proved their willingness to volunteer and get active in collecting and using vital information for the protection of our streams and lakes.
We formed the AWWA not knowing how long the government grants to the AWW Program from ADEM and EPA would last. The AWWA was to be the grassroots organization that would be there regardless of other funding sources. Well, those government grants lasted a long time! We were fortunate to have about 20 years of stable funding that enabled us to become established. Now, those grants are gone and we all need to consider the next phase of AWW’s development in a “post-ADEM world.” I hope you see it as a time full of potential to fulfill our mission in new ways, with your involvement and support as an AWWA member.
June 2014 is a milestone month for me. One year ago, I retired from full-time service to Auburn University and shifted to a part-time position. This major step in my life coincided with a dramatic shift for the AWW Program: moving to the AU Water Resources Center, in a new home (the CASIC Building), and with stronger ties to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. To provide continuity to AWW during this time, I was asked to continue serving as the AWW Program Director, and I’ve remained on the AWWA Board. This transition year has flown by and at our Annual Meeting later this month I will officially step down as AWW Program Director and pass the baton to a very capable, veteran member of the AWW Program Staff, Eric Reutebuch.
Try to make it to our Annual Get-Together, Saturday, June 28 at the CASIC Building on the AU Campus. You’ll get to hear more about all our changes and have a chance to share your thoughts about where the AWW Program and Association are heading. Remember, the AWWA was set up to be your voice and, now more than ever, it is an organization that welcomes your participation, ideas and energy to propel it forward.