Streamline - Fall 2013 - (Page 7)
BY PAM BAUGHMAN, VRWA PRESIDENT
IN FEBRUARY 2013, a team consisting of Virginia Rural Water Association staff and board members
went to Washington, D.C., to talk with House and Senate representatives from the Commonwealth
of Virginia. This is something that takes place annually and can be both rewarding and frustrating
all at the same time.
and build a
them to visit
This year our first visit was with a legislative aid from a Northern Virginia district. The
gentleman was very gracious and we spoke for
quite a long time. However, the longer he spoke,
the more frustrated I became.
The gentleman started off by telling our group
how much he appreciated our work in the water
and wastewater industry. He proceeded to say
that the federal government has been funded by
continuing resolution for so long, he wasn’t sure
how the budget process even worked anymore.
He stated that government programs would soon
be sequestered, governmental agencies would
realize spending cuts and government employees
would be furloughed one day a week. He went on
to make a comment about the differences between
“urban” and “rural” Virginia.
While the other legislative team members
spoke about all of the wonderful things VRWA
does for our membership, how we hope to continue providing those services and how our membership in the water and wastewater business
need our help, I sat patiently (and for those of
you who know me, it wasn’t an easy wait). Then
it was my turn to speak.
I asked him if he and his boss – “the congressman” – were sent to Washington, D.C., to
do a job and if preparation of an annual budget
was part of that job. Every rural utility prepares
an annual budget, and – get this – they have to
live within those budget constraints. Most rural
utilities budgets are regulation driven and, in
many cases, new regulations are imposed as
With complete confidence, I stated that “the
congressman’s” salary was three or four times
that of a water or wastewater operator, and that
operators go for years without receiving a raise.
Many of the operators are now paying for larger
and larger shares of their benefits, such as the
burden of the costs for required licensing and
continuing education training, and the cost of
living continues to rise. And don’t forget, this is
a seven day a week, 365 day a year job.
In conclusion, I said both “rural” and “urban”
Virginians depend on each other. Approximately
80 percent of all water consumed in “urban”
Virginia flows though “rural” Virginia. Food
is grown in “rural” Virginia and most manufacturing takes place in, you guessed it, “rural”
Ultimately, are we not all Virginians…
I encourage everyone to contact their representative and build a relationship with them. Invite
them to visit your facilities. Until they understand
who we are, what we do, where we do it, when
we do it and how we do it, nothing will change.
If there is anything VRWA can do to help,
please let us know. If there is something you
would like to see us do or something you would
like to see us do differently, please let us know.
Do not hesitate to call on your Virginia Rural
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2013
From the President
From the Executive Director
Acronyms – Today’s Language
Drought or Flood?
Can Changing Your Plant Lighting Save You Money?
Source Water Protection Notes
Aging and Failing Infrastructure
Time for Some R&R
EXPO Coverage and Recap
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefi ts
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Fall 2013