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Certificate program trains leaders for new era of water management

November 12, 2013

A new certificate offered at Arizona State University’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) prepares water professionals with the skills and knowledge to meet the changing technological, environmental and political demands facing irrigation districts, city water managers, the mining industry and other major water users.

In collaboration with the Agri-Business Council of Arizona and the Morrison School of Agribusiness, the new Water Management Certificate Program (WMCP) was created for key personnel who have been identified by their agencies or companies as the next generation of leaders in the water industry. Distinguished practitioners with many years of water resource and power management experience designed and now lead the program.

“To my knowledge, the WMCP at ASU is the first effort of its kind in the industry,” said Doug Miller, former General Counsel for the Central Arizona Project in Phoenix and a Water Management Certificate Program instructor. “Its goal is to give aspiring water managers a comprehensive grounding in all aspects of water management. The program covers the full range of relevant subject matters in depth and detail, from water law to operation and maintenance, from finance and the development of budgets to working with elected boards of directors, legislators and other political leaders.”

Instructors, like Miller, include senior level or recently retired executives and attorneys who are among the most knowledgeable water management experts in the United States. Many have consulted on water issues around the world. Among the instructors is a former president of the National Water Association, a former director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Chief Resources Executive of the Salt River Project, a former General Manager of the Central Arizona Project and a former Water Manager from the City of Tempe.

“I am proud to be part of this effort, and I sincerely hope that it takes root in Arizona and elsewhere,” said Miller. “The nation needs a new generation of water leaders, people who can successfully manage the difficulties of the present and meet the challenges of the future."  

The first cohort in the nine-month program started in September at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, with eleven participants from local businesses, municipalities, electrical districts and water users associations. Faculty coordinators and CTI professors George Seperich and Larry Olson expect to grow future cohorts to include participants from other arid regions of the western United States via video conferencing and on-site sessions.

“The curriculum covers fundamental topics such as laws affecting groundwater and surface water, management of hydroelectric power, land use issues, operations, finance and budgeting, along with government relations at the federal, state and tribal level,” said Olson. “Our goal is to provide access to the most innovative approaches to water management for tomorrow’s leaders.”

For more information on the program, contact Larry Olson at 480-727-1499 or George Seperich at 480-727-1285.