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News: NC Safewater Endowment Fund

Endowment Update: A Sustainable Future

Monday, January 29, 2018  
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Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of NC Currents magazine.


Water is truly the lifeblood of every community. Even as scientists search for the potential for life across other planets, they look for any possible sign of water. Without water, life simply does not exist.


As our communities have grown, the need to clean our waste streams and protect our water resources has become even more challenging. Whether we are designing systems, building infrastructure, providing materials and equipment, or operating facilities to keep plants performing, handling this essential component of our daily existence is critical to a sustainable future. As we look beyond our own communities, we have seen water quality crises in the news, such as in Flint, Michigan; reports of endangered rivers; water shortages; and depleting aquifers. It is the teams of individuals within our industry that are delivering solutions to ensure adequate capacity of safe, quality, and reliable water.


The water industry is moving forward with both new technology and a new generation choosing their professions and entering the work force. The NC Safewater Endowment Fund was established for the purpose of promoting safe water, increasing knowledge and understanding of safe water, and preserving and enhancing the water environment. This program provides scholarship funds to individuals who seek assistance to complete courses that emphasize the protection of public health, drinking water, and protecting the quality and integrity of the water environment. In addition, the NC Safewater Endowment Fund awards funds to assist educators in providing enhanced water environment education to students and the public.


Eleven funds make up the NC Safewater Endowment Fund. They have been fueled by pledges and donations from individuals and corporations, as well as an auction at the NC AWWA-WEA Annual Conference, and an annual dinner event. This year, 54 guests attended the sold-out dinner in downtown Raleigh. Owner/Chef Sunny Gerhart donated his restaurant space, St. Roch Fine Oysters & Bar, for this special evening. Celebrity Chef Jason Stanhope, the 2015 James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef Southeast, donated his time and creative energy to prepare five courses paired with wines donated by Barrique Wine Importers & Distributors.

The fundraising events for this year will include a second dinner to be held in Charlotte this October. Tickets are available for purchase on the NC AWWAWEA website.


Finally, this year’s Monday night event at the NC AWWA-WEA Annual Conference will be a “Hit One Out of the Park” Gala Reception with music, contests, and a silent auction. Join the fun while supporting the NC Safewater Endowment Fund!


Regardless of our respective roles, our industry plays a vital part in keeping our water clean and pumping. Some of us have been performing our roles for many years and some may be just beginning their journey into this critical industry. Either way, it is imperative we understand that those of us who have developed many years of knowledge, experience, and wisdom must pass this on to the newer professionals. It is equally imperative that those in the early years of our profession bring a breadth of current education and new technology as they seek out the wisdom of those more tenured. Ultimately, it is the desire of all of us to ensure that our communities can thrive in every aspect, with water as the true lifeblood that unites us all.  

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