A Message from ASDWA’s President for the New Year

steveIt’s a new year and Steve Sturgess, Missouri’s Drinking Water Administrator, will continue serving as ASDWA’s President through the end of 2015.  Steve will have an extra-long term as President, since John Calkins resigned from his position as both Arizona’s Drinking Water Administrator and ASDWA’s President in early September 2014.  Steve also served two previous terms on the ASDWA Board as a representative for Region VII from 2008-2009 and 2012-2013.  In addition, Sarah Pillsbury, our 2013 President and New Hampshire’s Drinking Water Administrator, will continue to serve on the ASDWA Board for one more year as the Past-President.  A heartfelt “thank you” to both Steve and Sarah for your leadership!
Steve Sturgess has been the Administrator of the Drinking Water Program in Missouri since 2005 and has worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for 29 years.  As the Missouri Administrator, Steve was able to further a robust drinking water program fee increase by the legislature, which was a difficult endeavor in a state that increasingly disfavors any taxes or fees.  During his tenure at MDNR, Steve has also worked in the Superfund Program, the Land Reclamation Program and as the director of the Missouri Geological Survey Program.
Steve says that, “It was an unexpected honor to begin serving early as your President last September.  I consider it a privilege to work directly with administrators from across the country on our combined mission of protecting the safety of the nation’s drinking water supply.  There are few functions performed by government that have such a vital connection to both public health and economic prosperity.  With resources dwindling in the face of increasing requirements and new, game-changing initiatives such as WIFIA, the importance of collaboration has never been greater.  Jim Taft and the ASDWA staff provide us a well-respected, credible voice that helps further our priorities on the national stage.   As always, we face a daunting array of challenging issues as ascribed in our following objectives for the coming year.”  ASDWA’s 2015 objectives include:

  • Help ensure active and ongoing involvement of ASDWA members in the Association’s activities.
  • Manage expectations during state revenue shortfalls/promote economic recovery/implement grants.
  • Support state efforts to set priorities that maximize public health protection in the face of resource constraints by providing information, tools, and assistance.
  • Provide early state input into the rule development process.
  • Provide early state input into regulatory tool development.
  • Work, in partnership with EPA to ensure that SDWIS is updated to meet new regulatory and program requirements.
  • Preserve the public health protection integrity of the DWSRF by helping ensure that it is adequately funded and remains focused on solving critical drinking water problems, including providing needed funding to systems that would otherwise struggle to make improvements.
  • Strive to ensure an active state-EPA co-regulator relationship that operates in a manner engendering mutual trust and respect.
  • Encourage greater interstate communication, involving sharing of information, strategies, and approaches to achieve implementation efficiencies and maximize state resources.
  • Strengthen existing and forge new partnerships with other water organizations and interest groups that will add diversity and strength to ASDWA and its members.

Steve also adds “Last year, the trying events in West Virginia and Ohio thrust the importance of source water protection and the vulnerability of drinking water into the nation’s consciousness. We should build off of that enhanced public understanding to move forward priorities that increase our ability to safeguard the nation’s water supplies.  I look forward to working with my fellow administrators and ASDWA staff on our priorities. Last, but certainly not least, I encourage state administrators and their staffs to get involved with ASDWA committees and workgroups.”