HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! I hope the year 2023 brings...

President's Message | January/February 2023

I hope the year 2023 brings back a sense of normalcy in our day-to-day lives, in our communities, and in our workspaces.

Water resources work has never been more critical and urgent than it is during this moment in our history. As a history buff, I have always found the relationship between water resources and historical events fascinating. Many major historical events—including the rise and fall of major empires—were often closely related to widespread droughts and their devasting impact.

My research focuses on water resources planning and management. Droughts play an important role in these topics, as droughts are the main limiting factor for surface water availability.

For someone with my research interests and passion for history, the current issue of IMPACT has so much to offer! Droughts often do not catch the public’s attention in the way that other natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes, do. It is hard to “see” or “feel” a drought, after all. They are not as dramatic as other disasters. They often have a slow onset. But this doesn’t make them any less important or fascinating. I believe you will be as intrigued as I am when you read the articles in this issue discussing drought in the American West.

Naturally, the challenge posed by drought is not limited to the western U.S. Recently, I traveled to Thailand, where I met with water resources professionals from Chulalongkorn University and Asia Institute of Technology. Over the course of my visit, we discussed the importance of sharing water resource management strategies across borders, languages, and cultures. Water resource management is both a local and a global issue. The specific challenges that water managers face are local, but the impact of water resource management is global. International cooperation will be important to manage water and prepare for drought. With that in mind, AWRA hopes to return to holding international conferences with agencies and communities that align with our mission and vision.

2023 is an exciting year for AWRA. We have made an extraordinary commitment to creating a strategic plan for the organization, which will track activities over the next 3-5 years. The AWRA Board of Directors understands that leadership and proper governance must begin with a solid plan to empower staff to execute the vision of the board, to illustrate to our members how the organization’s resources are being spent, to address the needs of our membership and their changing priorities, and always to stay prepared for the future. The AWRA Board of Directors and staff have been working on this plan for six months, and we hope to begin the execution of the plan in the spring. Once the plan is approved, AWRA will share the body of work with our membership.

In the meantime, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in AWRA events. I hope you will get involved!

  • State Section Leadership. If you are in a state with a AWRA State Section, we strongly encourage you to get involved with their section activities, events, meetings, networking opportunities, and student engagement. AWRA also hosts a bi-monthly section meeting where leaders from each section engage with other sections leaders around the country on topics most important to them. If you are a state section leader and are not on that list, please email [email protected].
  • AWRA has four Technical Committees that are hard at work planning content for 2023-2025 conferences and beyond. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to engage with AWRA leaders and be a part of planning something unique in your profession. If you would like to get engaged with a Technical Committee, please reach out to the Chairs here.
  • AWRA is committed to DEI initiatives and will be sponsoring our DEI Award Winners to present at the 2023 conferences. AWRA will continue to provide educational opportunities around DEI in water resources in 2023.
  • Lastly, if you are interested in publishing in IMPACT Magazine or getting involved, please check out the 2023 Editorial Calendar and contact IMPACT Magazine staff.

Jason Zhang is the 2023 president of AWRA.


If you actively engage in our community, your career and organization will benefit. We offer multiple opportunities for engagement via conferences, social media, webinars, committees and publications.

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