On February 25, 2015, I am a motivational speaker for the Rural Water Association of Utah. The event takes place at the Dixie Center in St. George, Utah.
Over 200 water operators, office staff, elected officials, and state regulators will attend.
This hard working audience wears many hats and deals with multiple challenges in a small community where resources( and budgets) are limited. Community members often believe water should be easily accessible and free. Thus, any water repairs, shut offs or rate increases are met with criticism.
Water operators (in water and waste water plants) will comprise 60% of the audience. Humorously called the bubbas of utah, these professionals take water samples, read water meters, check equipment, do regular leak detection and repair and monitor chlorine input.
In rural communities town council must agree that aging pipes and equipment or new technology is necessary. It can be hard to compel these elected officials ( often volunteers) to do what is right for the community water system.
Safety and OSHA compliance is also always top of mind in rural communities. Small communities find it hard to fund and train people with new water technology to help them with their job.
Finally this industry struggles with an agiing workforce. Water operators work long hours and often are underpaid, it can be physically draining. Rural communities have the addition struggle of attracting professions to live and work in the community.