WEF Wants You to Become a Water Advocate

As wastewater treatment professionals, we work every day to ensure our communities receive clean, safe water. Now there’s one more way to advocate for your community. WEF, the Water Environment Federation, has created a new program—Water Advocates—to empower its members to impact water policy on a national level.

“The purpose of the Water Advocates program is to help make things as easy as possible to promote grassroots advocacy,” says Amy Kathman of WEF. “We want to give advocates tools to make it easy for them to reach out to their members of Congress and explain why these issues are so important.”

Whether it’s tax-exempt municipal bonds or supporting the Clean Water Act, WEF has made it easy for you to find your representatives and prepare you to get your message across. “It helps to hear from us [WEF],” says Kathman, “but the people they really want to hear from, the people they care about hearing from, are their members and their constituents.” 

WEF has seen the success of grassroots messaging firsthand. In 2015, they organized constituents to flood Congress with letters in response to a harmful rider added to the Senate's FY16 appropriations bill for the Environmental Protection Agency. According to WEF, members of Congress said that the grassroots opposition to the policy rider was critical in influencing their decision to push other leaders to remove the rider from the final bill.

Layne Williams, chair of the PNCWA Government Affairs Committee, encourages all PNCWA members to get involved.  “Our industry prides itself on staying mostly out of sight and out of mind, quietly doing our jobs. But if we want others to ‘get it,’ then we’re going to have to reach outside our small community of like-minded friends and actively work to educate, inform, and yes, persuade our elected officials of the importance of our industry,” says Williams. “The Water Advocates program provides a simple pathway and framework to begin those conversations with officials at the state and national level.”

The program has a wealth of information to inspire and equip grassroots organizers. They’ve also put together a Water Advocates Toolkit, a document full of resources from finding your elected officials to calling your official on the phone to writing the perfect op-ed. Plus, you can sign up for the “Week in Washington” newsletter, which will bring the water-related issues happening in our nation's capital straight to your inbox. To get involved, sign up today or email [email protected] with your name, title, organization, address, and telephone number.

“We all have the same basic belief in and understanding of the importance of wastewater infrastructure, funding, and education in protecting human health and the environment,” says Williams. “Remember the old maxim: In government, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. I say we pull up a chair!”

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