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The NWRI E-newsletter is published periodically and distributed to those interested in issues related to water resources. It usually contains general announcements related to events and forthcoming publications. Click here to access past E-Newsletters.



February 9, 2017, E-Newsletter


Nominations Now Open for 2017 Clarke Prize (due Apr 15)


NWRI is now accepting nominations for the Twenty-Fourth Annual Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. The Prize, which includes $50,000 and a medallion, rewards scholarly and practical achievements in water research. Established in 1994, the Clarke Prize recognizes outstanding individuals who are significantly and actively contributing toward any of the following areas: the discovery, development, improvement, and/or understanding of issues associated with water quality, quantity, technology, or public policy.


The Clarke Prize Nomination Guide and Cover Sheet are available at http://www.nwri-usa.org/nominations.htm. Completed nomination packets must be submitted by April 15, 2017.


The 2017 Clarke Prize Award Ceremony and Conference will be held October 19-20, 2017, in Irvine, California. More information is available at www.clarkeprize.com.



Water Planet to Present PolyCera System at Membrane Technology Conference (Feb 13-17)


Water Planet Inc., an NWRI Corporate Associate, will present its PolyCera ultrafiltration membranes, powered by IntelliFlux intelligent controls software, during the 2017 Membrane Technology Conference, to be held February 13-17, 2017 in Long Beach, California. The membrane system is designed to provide users with an affordable turn-key water treatment solution that is quickly deployable, easy to install, and simple to operate while providing reliable water production and quality. More information is available at http://www.waterplanet.com/polycera/.



Last Chance to Register for the 2017 Borchardt Conference (Feb 21-22)  


The 2017 Borchardt Conference, a Triennial Symposium on Advancements in Water and Wastewater Treatment, will be held February 21-22, 2017, at the University of Michigan. The two-day conference brings together a diverse group of engineers, scientists, practitioners, and students to present and discuss the latest issues and advances in water and wastewater science and engineering. This year, the Borchardt-Glysson Water Treatment Innovation Prize will be presented to Marc Edwards, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. The deadline to register for the conference is February 14, 2017. To register or for more information, go to http://www.mi-water.org/mpage/Borchardt.



Submit Abstract for Seminar on Drinking Water Disinfection By-products (due Apr 29)


Graduate students, postdocs, and other early-career researchers are encouraged to submit an abstract for the 2017 Gordon Research Seminar (GRS): Drinking Water Disinfection By-products, which will be held on July 29-30, 2017. The seminar will feature technical sessions focusing on multidisciplinary research projects that address the microbial and chemical safety of water. Topics include mechanistic exploration of disinfection mechanisms and byproduct formation pathways, new analytical capabilities, high throughput toxicity evaluation, and assessment of public health outcomes. Abstracts must be submitted by April 29, 2017. More information is available at https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=16996.



Water UCI Colloquiums to Discuss Drought in the Sierra Nevada and Subsidence in Central Valley


Two upcoming installments in Water UCI’s Colloquium series will discuss California’s water supplies and water management systems in the Sierra Nevada and in the Central Valley. Both events are free and open to the public. The first colloquium, “Water Security in a Changing Climate: Observations from Drought in the Sierra Nevada,” will be held February 22, 2017, and features Dr. Roger Bales, a founding Professor of Engineering at University of California Merced. More information is available at http://water.uci.edu/event/15420/.


The second event, “InSAR Measurements of Subsidence in the Central Valley, California from 2007- Present,” will be held March 10, 2017, and features Dr. Tom Farr of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology. More information is available at http://water.uci.edu/event/water-uci-colloquium-series-feat-thomas-farr/.



Save the Date: Utility Branding Workshop in Southern California (Apr 6)


The Utility Branding Network Bi-Annual Workshop will be held April 6, 2017 at the Orange County Sanitation District in Fountain Valley, California. The workshop, “Addressing the Barriers to Change,” will discuss the following topics: Resolving problems using branding best practices; Busting the barriers change; Waiting for a crisis or visionary leadership?; What’s in it for me?; Facilitating an internal dialogue about the brand; and New branding network tools. The workshop is free to UBN subscribers and invited guests. Lunch will be provided and is sponsored by NWRI. To reserve your seat, contact Brandi Caskey at (714) 278-3278 or bcaskey@nwri-usa.org.



Utility Branding Network Update: “Fake News”


It's debatable whether the internet was designed to enable the free flow of truthful and useful information, but it's safe to say that this should be our desire. However, it's very clear that the internet has increased the power of divisive speech, hyperbole, and false information. Debating the internet's benefits and drawbacks will continue for quite some time, maybe for as long as humans exist. So, we won't tackle the broader question here, but we should respond to the rise of "fake news."


The Lure of Fabricated Facts - It's very difficult for well-researched information to compete with fiction, because fiction can always be fabricated to be more eye-catching, more polarizing, and more effective in playing on our fears and advancing a specific agenda. What may even be more disturbing is that some people are applying the term “fake news” to information simply because it doesn't align with their own beliefs or ideologies. In other words, if I don't agree, it must be false. This behavior is troubling independent of a person's ideological or political leanings.


Utilities Combating Erroneous Information - Utilities have been dealing with inaccurate information for quite some time, often presented by gadflies and opponents during public-policy meetings. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheels affect policy decisions more often than utility managers like to admit. During our work with utilities on branding, we have learned that part of the problem is how difficult it is for utilities to get people's attention and create transparency.


The Transparency Gap - Even though utilities provide quite a bit of information, and utility managers make every effort to ensure their facts are correct, it is still difficult and time-consuming for people to evaluate the utility's decisions and accomplishments. This means that most people, including elected officials and influential community leaders, have not formulated an accurate opinion of the utility's performance. This state of affairs allows faulty facts and ideologies to gain traction. Furthermore, recent trends related to fake news may embolden those who have no interest in facts and wish only to advance preconceived notions about the effectiveness and efficiency of public agencies.


Creating Unassailable Content - Although branding is often categorized as spin, great brands provide compelling value to their customers. The branding tactics being advanced by Resource Trends and the Utility Branding Network are designed to reduce confusion and increase transparency. The foundation for these tactics is providing superior customer service and realizing that customers are also shareholders and investors in the utility's resources and infrastructure. Treating audiences like shareholders involves communicating the utility's standards, producing compelling arguments for investment, and creating content that makes it easy for community leaders to be informed. Although no information is completely indisputable, we undeniably live in world where it makes sense to do a better job of being factual, clear, and compelling.


The Utility Branding Network is committed to ensuring that water and wastewater agencies are trusted and that the rate-setting process fully funds utility operating costs and needed capital investments. The Network is managed by NWRI on behalf of water and wastewater agencies. To become a member of the Network, please contact Brandi Caskey at bcaskey@nwri-usa.org or John Ruetten at john@resourcetrends.com. For more information about the Utility Branding Network, please visit www.utilitybranding.net