Eric Kong Offers Young Professionals’ Take On Water’s Future in Journal AWWA

Recognizing the importance of engaging young professionals in developing strategies for managing water supplies in the future, Journal AWWA, the magazine of the American Water Works Association, has been asking young leaders to takeover the “Last Drop” feature.

Freese and Nichols’ Eric Kong, a Treatment, Transmission and Utilities engineer in San Antonio, co-wrote the first installment, emphasizing the need to help small water systems as well as those in growing areas.

Eric and co-author Progga Chirontoni of HDR Engineering noted that 97% of the 143,000+ public water systems in the United States are considered “small,” serving 10,000 or fewer people.

Here’s part of what they wrote:

“These small systems are constrained by limited resources, including staff, revenue, and equipment redundancy, but they still are responsible for maintaining and replacing their community’s water infrastructure. When these utilities face significant financial hardships, they can quickly fall into a feedback loop, where utility revenue is limited, repairs are postponed, infrastructure fails, and the cycle begins again.”

“Just as this challenge exists, the opposite is just as true with areas facing rapid growth, struggling to maintain resources to keep pace with expanding populations. These and other issues, including water supply reliability, the dearth of a water workforce, a shifting environment due to climate change, and the increased need for innovative technologies, exemplify the crossroads we are at in the water industry.” …

“How do we face the growing challenges of water scarcity and equity? These issues need to be addressed by us—water professionals—in collaboration with local communities.”

“We do this work not for ourselves but for the people around us. Our hope for the future is more than bare-minimum solutions; it involves thoughtful plans that enrich current and future generations. This goal requires all water professionals to take part in this endeavor, with each individual seeking to solve their puzzle piece for the common goal of protecting public health and the environment through the effective management of water.” …

Read the full article: “Water 2050: Our Responsibility as YPs