Organizations: Georgia Association Of Water Professionals
As Georgia’s water woes in-crease in scope, so does the mission of the 75-year-old Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP).
GAWP Executive Director Jack Dozier has been with the organization for 17 years and was previously branch chief of the Water Protection Division at the Georgia EPD. He is a member of the Statewide Advisory Committee to the Georgia Water Council and a member of the Statewide Drought Response Com-mittee. Both groups have been active recently due to the pending legislative deadline for a comprehensive statewide water plan and ongoing drought conditions across the northern third of the state.
Founded in 1932 to provide continuing education for wastewater workers, over the years GAWP has allied with other similar organizations. Today it serves as an umbrella for several groups – The Georgia Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association, American Backflow Prevention Association, American Water Resources Associa-tion, Georgia Groundwater Associ-ation, and the Georgia Water Wise Council.
Education is still a primary function – the group expects some 1,500 participants at its Fall Conference and Expo this month in Athens.
Other duties include facilitating communication among its members (some 5,000 statewide), helping municipalities connect with one another, with state and federal regulators and with the public. “We poll members constantly to see what status they are in so we can be a mouthpiece for them as a whole to EPD when [it’s] making policy decisions,” says Bryan Wagoner, communications director.
An emergency response network has also been developed, through which municipalities can supply one another with “technical expertise, pipes, chemicals, whatever’s needed in case of emergency,” Wagoner says. A recent $100,000 Emergency Re-sponse Preparedness Grant secured by the city of Atlanta from the Department of Homeland Security will fund an emergency response trailer to go to places in time of need, he adds.