County earns national achievement award for 'Water Infrastructure 101' program

“Water Infrastructure 101: What You Need to Know Below and Beyond Library Discussions,” a program created by Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash (WRC), has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The award honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

NACo recognized the “Water Infrastructure 101: What You Need to Know Below and Beyond Library Discussions” in the category of Libraries because of the unique partnership formed by WRC and local county libraries to educate the public about water infrastructure and environmental protection efforts in Oakland County. The program helps to empower and inform residents, local leaders and communities on a range issues, including drinking water quality, sewer systems, stormwater, septic systems, environmental justice, flooding, green stormwater infrastructure, water affordability, lead and copper regulations, lake maintenance, invasive species, and other policy issues.

“Educating the public is vitally important and I thank all our local libraries for their great partnership. Most people understand the public health and environmental impacts of what we do but don’t know how our systems work. By showing them what we do, and the long-term infrastructure needs we have, people will support WRC’s work protecting our resources for generations to come.” said Nash.

NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson said, “We are seeing firsthand now more than ever that counties work tirelessly to support our residents. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”

“Our natural resources are of keen interest and vitally important to our communities and our residents as they need to understand the critical issues facing an aging water system,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “I send my congratulations to Commissioner Jim Nash and the entire Water Resources team for their fine work on receiving an NACo award and their efforts to keep our residents informed and aware.”

Library partners from across Oakland County expressed the benefits of the program.

“Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash brought a new level of understanding to residents in his presentation Water Infrastructure 101 at the Addison Township Library. Water is something most people take for granted, until it’s not there. Our community is very concerned about local injection of drilling as it applies to our rural well water supply. Commissioner Nash took time to answer questions, calm concerns, present visual data and provided useful follow-up direction for our whole community,” said Addison Township Library Director Jaema Berman.

“Getting and sharing reliable information is one of our goals as a public library. That Oakland County Water Resources Office Jim Nash (WRC) brought his program to the library community was a win for both the public and our library. It’s essential that people have a concrete understanding about our water and the complex issues that face our water systems,” said Berkley Library Director Matt Church.

“The discussion series is an example of how partnerships between government agencies can create a meaningful and effective community dialogue that benefits everyone,” said Bloomfield Township Public Library Assistant Director Tera Moon.

“The WRC and Hazel Park Memorial District Library Discussion program was very informative and fun. Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash’s three visits were well received as he explained very difficult ideas in a manner that our patrons could understand. Our patrons requested him for the library’s book club, and I requested him for two days to discuss water infrastructure issues. Requesting a speaker twice in one month is very rare for me,” said Hazel Park Library Adult/Teen Services Director Randy Ernst-Meyer.

“We at Royal Oak Public Library have been so grateful to have the opportunity to have Oakland County present their Water Infrastructure 101 program to our patrons. This unique discussion gives insight into a topic that most of the public may not know very much about, but that impacts all of our lives on a daily basis,” said Royal Oak Library Director Emily Dumas.

The collaboration with Oakland County libraries began in 2018 and currently continues.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. For additional information, visit www.naco.org.

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