2023 Sees the Return of the Citizens Water Academy

Graduation plaque recipients for the Citizens Water Academy class of 2020.

For many years, Beaver Water District (BWD) has conducted public education and outreach programs. These efforts have included working with students of all ages, business leaders, civic organizations, nonprofits, and groups focusing on diversity in the region. In 2018, BWD made the decision to add to their public education programs and develop a more formalized educational academy for adults known as the Citizens Water Academy (CWA). The goal of the academy is to educate Northwest Arkansas community leaders about the district, our treatment of water from Beaver Lake, and the importance of drinking water to our area and its economy. Then, upon completion of the academy, the participants will be prepared to serve as ambassadors for Beaver Water District.

The Citizens Water Academy curriculum includes a mix of classroom sessions and tour participation. Topics including the history of the district, the dam, and Beaver Lake; relationships with the Corps of Engineers and the customer cities of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville; a tour of BWD’s drinking water treatment process, laboratory, and intakes; drinking water regulations and regulatory programs; the district’s financial management and capital improvements programs (including long-range planning); source water protection; and public outreach and education. The curriculum changes a little with each new academy adding updated statistics and information as Northwest Arkansas changes.

While the CWA program was developed in 2018, like many other programs out there, the pandemic was a major disruption. About the time our third class began in late winter of 2020, the pandemic hit and shut down BWD’s public outreach programs. Now after a three-year hiatus, the program was conducted again.

On April 5th, BWD held the 2023 graduation luncheon for the third Citizens Water Academy. This year’s group of eleven participants included mostly individuals from the cancelled class in 2020 with a few new participants. Those receiving graduation plaques were (back row) Raymond Burns, Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce; (middle row L-R) Randall Harriman, Signature Bank of Arkansas; Clay Kendall, Rogers City Council; Steve Clark, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce; Scott Berna, Fayetteville City Council; Aaron Miller, Rockline Industries; Jason Evins, CR Crawford Construction; (front row L-R) Patrick Tenney, Baldwin & Shell Construction; Brittany Craig, Tyson Foods; Teresa Turk, Fayetteville City Council; and Marcina Langrine, Marshallese Education Initiative. This brings the total number of people who have completed the training to forty-six area leaders.

Each year participants are invited to apply and are chosen from a wide variety of businesses and organizations. To be eligible to apply, participants must receive their water directly from one of BWD’s four customer cities — Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, or Bentonville. If you have an interest in the next Citizens Water Academy or other programs offered by the district, please email Trish at touei@bwdh2o.org for more information.

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