Inspiring Women in Water

March 8, 2019

To mark International Women’s Day 2019, here are 15 podcast episodes from the past year that feature influential and inspiring women in water.

Eleanor Allen on Water for People
Eleanor explains the organization’s model of water for Everyone Forever, which has to date provided service to 3.3 million people. 

Jenelle Armstrong on Leadership, Women in Water, and Veterans
Jenelle talks about how her time at the U.S. Naval Academy shaped her views on leadership and prepared her to be a woman in the male-dominated water industry. 

Cathy Bailey on Lead in Drinking Water
Cathy discusses her rise from a chemist working nights to the first woman and African-American to lead the utility in its 200-year history.

Ingrid Bella on BAYWORK
Ingrid discusses the origins of BAYWORK, its focus on showcasing water sector jobs to students and educators, and the many resources available to help utilities address workforce challenges.

Haley Falconer on Sustainability in Boise
Haley discusses managing environmental services for one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and how water fits in the portfolio with energy, waste, and air quality.

Manon Fisher on Addressing Climate Change with Biosolids
Manon discusses the role of biosolids in addressing climate change — including through carbon sequestration – and in building environmental literacy in a community.

Abigail Gardner on Public Opinion Poll Results
Abigail talks about the results of a public opinion poll that found 88 percent of voters support increasing federal investment to rebuild America’s water infrastructure and how that support cuts across age, gender, political party, and geography. 

Sidney Innerebner on Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals
Sidney discusses how the new Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals provide a one-stop shop for operators to gain the information needed to do their jobs. 

Marleah LaBelle on Alaska Native Villages
Marleah discusses the challenges with drinking water and sanitation in Alaska Native villages, which includes about 3,000 households with no service.

Karen Pallansch on the Utility of the Future
Karen talks about the Utility of the Future concept and how wastewater treatment plants are transforming into water resource recovery facilities. 

Melissa Pomales on Puerto Rico’s Recovery from Hurricane Maria
Melissa tells her personal and professional stories of the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria on her home island. 

Kishia Powell on Atlanta’s Community Investments
Kishia discusses Atlanta’s extensive use of green infrastructure, including using it to create public spaces such as the Historic Fourth Ward Park and to educate citizens on water management.

Angeliki Rigos on Scientists as Advocates and Leaders
Angeliki says more scientists should be active advocates for sustainability and that she encourages women scientists to become leaders in society.

Britt Sheinbaum on Conflict and Resolution
Britt discusses her view that water conflict is an opportunity for cooperation, the role of water scarcity in tensions in places like Syria, and the remarkable cooperation found along transboundary waters.

Kathryn Sorenson on Water in Phoenix
Kathryn discusses how the utility collects, distributes, and treats water in the desert home of the fifth-most populated city in the United States.

Words On Water #70: Gilbert Trejo on Direct Potable Reuse in El Paso, Texas

January 2, 2019

Gilbert Trejo is the Chief Technical Officer for El Paso Water. In this episode, Gilbert discusses the utility’s direct potable reuse project that will put wastewater effluent through several types of advanced treatment and then distribute it directly into the drinking water system. He explains this project is part of El Paso’s long-running emphasis on diversifying its water resources portfolio. Gilbert said a survey of customers found that 85 percent said they would drink this water. He also talks about the process of working with state regulators, a visit by CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and how the use of “toilet to tap” is an opportunity to educate.

Episode #70
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #66: Las Virgenes MWD’s Response to the Woolsey Fire

November 27, 2018

Dave Pedersen is the General Manager of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in Calabasas, California. In this episode, Dave and his colleagues tell the dramatic story of how the utility responded in the face of the Woolsey Fire, which scorched two-thirds of its service area. He explains how Las Virgenes MWD activated its emergency operations center, maintained power, tracked water levels, and kept in communication with firefighters in order to protect infrastructure and provide vital water for combating the wildfire. Dave shares how firefighters protected the utility’s headquarters from the encroaching blaze and how air drops kept the water reclamation facility safe. He also talks about the human impact, as employees saw the community burning, and the long road to recovery.

Episode #66
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #65: Global Water Stewardship in Costa Rica

November 19, 2018

Matt Streicher is the Treasurer and Liz Heise is the Marketing Chair for the Global Water Stewardship. In this episode, Matt and Liz discuss the Global Water Stewardship, a volunteer organization that is working in Costa Rica to address sanitation and environmental challenges that stem from decentralized treatment, inadequate septic systems, and a lack of advanced treatment. They explain how volunteers help design systems to treat wastewater and train local residents to serve as operators. Matt and Liz also talk about the organization’s work to educate local people in Costa Rica about the issues, which includes paying a sewer bill. Donations to Global Water Stewardship help in these efforts.

Episode #65
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #62: Marleah LaBelle on Alaska Native Villages

November 5, 2018

Marleah LaBelle is a project manager with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. In this episode, Marleah discusses the challenges with drinking water and sanitation in Alaska Native villages, which includes about 3,000 households with no service. She describes the central place of water in the Alaska Native culture, including for subsistence living, and an initiative to use art to strengthen awareness of water issues. Marleah also explains how climate change is impacting Alaska Native villages, even forcing relocation.

Episode #62
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #61: Ronit Erlitzki and Richard Cavagnaro on this Exciting Time in Water

October 29, 2018

Ronit Erlitzki is the Director of Business Development and Innovation and Richard Cavagnaro is the Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at AdEdge Water Technologies. In this episode, Ronit and Richard discuss how the state of science and technology make it an exciting time to work in water and how scientists and engineers are actually creative people. They talk about several hot issues including emerging contaminants such as PFOA and PFOS, the evolution of desalination, transferring technology to the market, and showcasing water careers to the next generation.

This episode is brought to you by AdEdge Water Technologies.

Episode #61
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #53: Mike Matichich on Making Progress on Affordability

September 17, 2018

Mike Matichich leads the financial services consulting team for Jacobs. In this episode, Mike explains how the increasing attention to affordability of water rates stems from the pinch created by necessary investments in infrastructure and rising costs for households. He says it is more important than ever for utilities to create customer assistance programs and to turn research on affordability into action. Mike also discusses how lessons can be learned at looking at state-by-state variability, approaches in public versus private water systems, and in how places like Australia, Canada, and Europe address affordability issues.

Episode #53
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #51: Preview of WEFTEC 2018

September 7, 2018

WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference, is the largest annual water quality event in the world. This year it will be held September 29 to October 3 in New Orleans. In this episode, WEF staff provide a preview of WEFTEC, including highlights of the conference program, the new additions to the exhibit floor, what to expect at the opening session, and how to use the app to navigate the event.

Episode #51
Hosted by Travis Loop

Words On Water #50: Kishia Powell on Atlanta’s Community Investments

September 4, 2018

Kishia Powell is the Commissioner of the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. In this episode, Kishia talks about the utility’s new $1 billion, five-year capital improvement plan. She discusses Atlanta’s extensive use of green infrastructure, including using it to create public spaces such as the Historic Fourth Ward Park and to educate citizens on water management. Kishia also explains the importance of community involvement in the planning process and how the utility is focused on equity across neighborhoods.

Episode #50
Hosted by Travis Loop