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Accelerating Transformational Change in Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Management
A Project Newsletter from the Water Center at Penn

February 2021

Image Credit: 'The Mighty Youghiogheny' by Zach Frailey is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Project Updates

Draft Vision/Purpose/Goals Survey Feedback

A big thanks to the many people who took the time to review the SW PA Water Network draft vision/purpose/goal document.  Over 250 people read the document, with 45 people submitting very thoughtful survey responses.  This verbatim feedback can be found here.

The working group has spent some time reviewing all of the excellent feedback and have collectively created a response document that you can find here.  Some direct edits to the vision/purpose/goals document have also been made, with the February 2021 version now found here.

We take this chance to reiterate that what we are creating is a network, not an organization.  Networks are characterized by their ability to be flexible, to give attention and space to where there is member energy, and to evolve as the members see fit.  So please consider this document as something that can and should continue to evolve over time.


Save the Dates - Upcoming All Network Engagement (Virtual) Meetings

We will very shortly be sharing with you an opportunity to connect with us and fellow water stakeholders via a set of virtual all network engagement meetings to be held from 10am-12pm on Tuesdays April 20, May 4 and 18.  These three meetings are connected, so participants will be asked to commit to being part of all three meetings. 

The goals of this set of interactions are to support you in continuing to create new or build upon existing relationships, to assess where the greatest energy is in terms of connected action around particular water issues, and to obtain broader input into the proposed shape and direction of this network.  Whatever aspect of water interests you, you are welcome. 

We do wish to note here that there appears to be strong consensus around the value and importance of expanding an eventual regional water network to include all of the Ohio River Watershed headwaters. We therefore welcome water stakeholders in these communities to join us in this set of meetings so we can begin to incorporate your perspectives and interests into network development.

Stay tuned for an invitation in the coming week.                 

Update on the SW PA Water Leadership Incubator Program

We are at the two-thirds mark of this inaugural program and continue to meet every two weeks with this dynamic group of professionals working on water related issues.

Topics covered to date have included collaborative leadership; effective communications, including active listening and story telling; and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

On this last topic, last Wednesday February 17, we were delighted to be joined by three inspiring professionals who generously shared their expertise around environmental justice, from the perspectives of government and grassroot organizing; Allison Acevedo, Director of PA DEP's Office of Environmental Justice, Sarah Martik, Campaign Manager for the Center for Coalfield Justice, and Briann Moye, Coalition Coordinator for the PA Climate Equity Table. 

Their presentations sparked a lively conversation wherein cohort members and presenters alike shared their professional and personal experiences with EJ issues. Session attendees took the opportunity to brainstorm strategies for how best to further EJ efforts in SW PA and beyond, coming up with ideas ranging from finding tangible entry points for EJ within their every day work, to creating inclusive and just outreach efforts to amplify the voices of historically marginalized communities in environmental decision-making.  Cohort members committed to some collective exploration around some very progressive EJ legislative and policy work being undertaken in New Jersey. 

           Allison Acevedo, PA DEP Office of EJ

           Sarah Martik, Center for Coalfield Justice

             Briann Moye, PA Climate Equity Table

Sharing our Collective Efforts on the WaterLoop Podcast

We were pleased to be invited to share our collective work recently via an episode on the WaterLoop Podcast series. We spoke about conversation and collaboration being key ingredients in accelerating change in water management across southwestern PA where aging infrastructure, more extreme weather events and emerging pollutants such as PFAS are part of the water challenges. 

We also discussed the efforts we are facilitating around creating a regional water network, about establishing a leadership incubator and supporting small towns to find financial and technical assistance.  Watch/listen to this episode here.  
This project is generously supported by

Get In Touch

If you wish to get into contact with the Water Center at Penn team working on the project, please contact Alison De Luise ( or Karl Russek (  

You are receiving this bulletin because of your engagement with this project over the past 18 months.  Should you wish to unsubscribe, please select the unsubscribe link below at the bottom of this bulletin.

The Water Center at Penn
McNeil Building Room 412
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104


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The Water Center at Penn · Hayden Hall 240 S. 33rd St. · University of Pennsylvania · Philadelphia, PA 19104 · USA

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