Rural Water Rally in Washington, D.C.

by Margaret Dwyer

This article was published in the spring 2024 issue of our newsletter.

On February 6 and 7, the National Rural Water Association held its annual Rural Water Rally in Washington, D.C. Representatives from state Rural Water Associations came to meet with their elected officials to ask them to support funding for Rural Water Associations, including circuit riders, technical assistance, operator training, and workforce initiatives.

In attendance from Vermont were me and fellow board members Jon Thornton and Rod Lamothe, along with April Busfield from Canaan Fire District #2, the winner of the Vermont Drinking Water Taste Test.

Jon Thornton, April Busfield, and Margaret Dwyer at the US Capitol building.

Our first meeting was with staff members of Senator Bernie Sanders. The next day we met with a staff member of Senator Peter Welch in the morning and then a staff member of Representative Becca Balint in the afternoon. We explained how Vermont Rural Water has been helping the water and wastewater systems impacted by last year’s flooding, being prepared to respond to future emergencies, and recruiting and training the next generation of water and wastewater operators. We were assured of the Senators’ and Representative’s ongoing committment for Rural Water and left feeling confident that the appropriations requests we were asking for would be supported.

On Wednesday, we all attended the Great American Water Taste Test. Unfortunately, Vermont’s submission from Canaan Fire District #2 was not a finalist, but the competition was fierce and a good time was had by all.

We had the opportunity to do a Moonlight Monument tour that evening. If you are ever in D.C., it is a wonderful way to see the iconic landmarks that commemorate the history and people of our great nation.

Overall, we felt it was a productive Rally. It is very apparent that providing rural communities with clean drinking water and protecting the environment are a priority in Congress.

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