Citizens Water Academy 2024 Wraps Up

Since 2018, Beaver Water District has been offering a 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. 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; capital improvements programs (including long-range planning); source water protection; and public outreach and education.

The curriculum changed a good bit this year. Recommendations from previous attendees and 550 million dollars of capital expansion planned for the District gave an opportunity for more topics and information to be shared on items like current construction projects, solar power generation, information technologies, and workforce development. The 2024 participants met for three hours each week for five weeks.

The 2024 graduation luncheon for the Citizens Water Academy was held on April 3rd. This year’s group of 13 participants included a wide range of professionals. Those receiving graduation plaques were (left to right): Stephanie Takamaru with Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, Michael Spivey with Ozark Foundation, Scott Hancock with Centennial Bank, Grady Spann with Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, James Bell with Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, Robyn Reed with Boston Mountain Solid Waste District, Jay Sego with Springdale Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Gilbert with Washington Regional Medical System, Ryan Mills with Horner & Shifrin, Hunter Haynes with HCH Consulting, Josh Vasquez with Generations Bank, Judge Patrick Deakins with Washington County, and Ashley Bylow with Tyson Foods. This brings the total number of people who have completed the training to 59 area leaders.

Each year participants are invited to apply and are chosen from a wide variety of businesses and organizations. Many are invited based upon recommendations from past participants or BWD staff members. 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 for more information.

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