The Water Values Podcast

The Water Values Podcast launched just over a month ago with the release of three episodes on March 17, 2014. Additional episodes have been released throughout March and April. Find the podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast directories. In each weekly episode, host Dave McGimpsey, a lawyer with Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, interviews a figure in the water sector.

In the first session, Matt Klein discusses the role of water in his past positions as an environmental regulator, an environmental lawyer, and the Executive Director of Indianapolis Water. Matt also addresses water as it relates to his current role with the state agency charged with being utility consumer advocate in Indiana. Matt provides a great overview of the environmental regulatory regime for water and issues that water utilities face.

Jack Wittmann, a hydrogeologist with INTERA, provides his perspective on water planning and the future of water in the second session of The Water Values Podcast. Jack’s experience lies all over the United States, and he’s working on water and water planning issues throughout the country. He talks about the importance of quality data in putting together water plans, the importance of collaboration amongst those needing to share the water resource, and much more.

New Belgium Brewery’s Jenn Vervier, joins The Water Values Podcast for the third session. Jenn holds the position of Director of Sustainability and Strategic Planning with New Belgium, and she explains New Belgium’s efforts towards water sustainability, from hard-piping the brewery to dry-lubing the labels. She also addresses the water-energy nexus and how New Belgium strives to continually reduce both its water and its carbon footprints.

The fourth session of The Water Values Podcast welcomes Mike McGuire, the noted water engineer, blogger, author and historian. Mike relates the story of how water disinfection came to be accepted practice in the United States through the leadership of Dr. John Leal and George Warren Fuller. Mike also discusses his travels to China and explains why Chinese culture prescribes that drinking water be boiled before serving.

The fifth session includes an interview with John Entsminger, the new General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Future episodes include sessions with Dr. Jim Salzman, a professor at Duke University and author of Drinking Water: A History; Dr. Ellen Wohl, a fluvial geomorphologist at Colorado State University; and Marty Melchior, a river restoration expert with Interfluve, with many more guests to come.

Check out The Water Values Podcast, rate and review it on iTunes and Stitcher, and subscribe to the weekly episodes. As the closing of each session of The Water Values Podcast indicates, water is our most valuable resource – so let’s start acting like it.

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Make Water Provocative: The Key to Connecting Resources, Audiences, and Meanings

If the goal of interpretation is to reveal meanings, this is because we believe that resources possess inherent meanings. Water, one might argue, is only two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. But most of us would argue that it is more than that. Water is power, art, community, energy, renewal, opportunity – ultimately, it is life itself.


Water has many different meanings, and means many different things to different people. The goal of water interpretation is to reveal these meanings, to facilitate connections between people and water – perhaps even to illuminate new ones.  But for this to happen, the interpreter must relate the resource to the audience’s own experience – and one of the most effective ways to do this is to use universal concepts.

Linking What We Experience With Bigger Concepts

Interpretation is not just based on facts, but on associated meanings. A program might present a concrete resource – something the audience can experience directly – in service to an abstract concept. Examples of concrete resources are objects, people, places, or events. These resources might be connected to abstract concepts, such as systems, ideas, or values. Many of the greater concepts that we wish to explore in our programs are abstract, such as conservation, stewardship, or scarcity. A program seeks to link the concrete and the abstract, the resources and the concepts, to reveal meaning.

For example, a program taking place by the side of a stream has multiple concrete resources: the water, rocks, soil, the surrounding vegetation, etc. The audience can see, smell, touch, and hear (or even taste) these objects. The program might discuss these objects with relation to the abstract concept of watershed health. This concept ties directly to the objects – how does the water look? Is it clear? Is the streambed cluttered with trash? – but the concept of watershed health itself cannot be directly experienced.

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Make Water Provocative: Building a Foundation

Interpretation is not just the delivery of information.  It is revelation, a moment when an audience member makes new and meaningful connections.  So how can interpreters facilitate these interpretive moments?

If you’ve ever been an interpreter, you know that you never really leave this type of work behind, even if you no longer practice it daily.  A lasting remnant from this part of my career was my memorization of the so-called “interpretive equation.”  This equation details what is needed to achieve an “interpretive opportunity,” the moment when interpretation takes place.

The equation, written in non-mathematical formula, goes something like this:  Knowledge of the resource, and knowledge of the audience, combined with the appropriate techniques for both, are necessary to produce an interpretive opportunity.

In other words, any successful interpreter needs:  knowledge of the resource, knowledge of the audience, and appropriate interpretive techniques for a given situation.


CFWE’s Kristin Maharg interprets during the Upper Colorado Basin tour.

Knowledge the Interpreter Brings

The first one is perhaps the most obvious:  knowledge of the resource.  What are you going to talk about, and what research do you need to conduct to describe it all comprehensibly?  If you’re going to talk about the water-energy nexus, what facts and figures do you need to back up your discussion points?  What terms and concepts do you need to define?  What information do you want to cover?  What meanings are inherent in this subject (more on this later!)?  We must learn about our subject before we can present it to others.

Knowledge of the audience, however, is an equally important component.  To whom are you going to present?  Children, families, adults?  Are you talking to people who have never heard of the topic, who have some knowledge, who already have a fair amount of expertise?

As you can imagine, you would probably craft a significantly different program based on these answers.  Continue reading

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Make Water Provocative: A Series on Interpretation

CFWE's Program Assistant Jennie Geurts

CFWE’s Program Assistant Jennie Geurts

Have you ever walked away from a program – perhaps a campfire talk, or a tour of a water diversion, or even a PowerPoint presentation – feeling inspired, identifying new connections that you had not previously realized, eager to learn more, determined to try new things?

If you have, you have fulfilled every interpreter’s dream. Those reactions are what interpreters hope to inspire in audiences. But how do we achieve this? Although a magic formula remains frustratingly elusive, interpreters have honed some best practices and principles over the years, which may be helpful in your program development. This interpretive series will outline a few of these practices.

Before I came to CFWE, I worked as an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service. I learned interpretive principles recommended by the Interpretive Development Program, and I was certified for guided interpretive programs. I later applied the principles I’d learned to my graduate work, writing interpretive labels for museums. The interpretive practices I learned were certainly not limited to the NPS, and can be applied to any number of interpretive activities, from classroom presentations to outdoor education to tours of specific sites.

Interpretive practices can easily be applied to water topics. Many educators and interpreters already use these principles, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Interpreters seek to facilitate a connection between the audience and a resource, revealing different meanings associated with the resource. For CFWE, the resource is, of course, water. Individuals will identify different meanings in water, but as interpreters we strive to provide access to these meanings, and to raise awareness of other connections.

The field of interpretation owes an immense debt to Freeman Tilden and his 1957 book Interpreting Our Heritage. Tilden outlined six principles of interpretation, and I have always found the fourth principle to be the most important for an interpreter to remember:

“The chief aim of Interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.”

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The Road Not Taken

By Julia Gallucci, water education coordinator, Colorado Springs Utilities

roadlesstakenWhen Robert Frost wrote his poem he probably wasn’t plagued by water issues, and neither are most Colorado citizens. While water is our bread and butter, how often do the rest of us think about, for example, the State Water Plan?

Two organizations, Colorado Competitive Council and Accelerate Colorado intend to brief the Colorado business community on Colorado’s Water Plan. These lobbying groups are interested in framing what Colorado Business wants around water, and they hope to use this framework to weigh in on the State’s Water Plan.

This is an excellent beginning to an independent State Water Plan public process, one from which, perhaps, the IBCC can draw ideas. Colorado Competitive Council and Accelerate Colorado have designed a “road show” which they successfully presented in Colorado Springs on April 2nd. In cities across Colorado, they leverage the connections and monthly forum of organizations like Chambers of Commerce to bring together state water experts like John Stulp and local experts like Wayne Vanderschuere to explain local and state water planning and what we are about. Then the organizers present their Water Principles from the Colorado Business Community as the proposed framework for how Colorado Business considers water and what they want from future water planning. After an information-packed session, they ask for input and feedback on their Water Principles and the State’s Water Plan. (For those of us who live within the Arkansas Basin, you also may get involved via the Arkansas Basin Roundtable’s new webpage.)

What were my parting thoughts? A solid, ninety-minute informational session, for the uninitiated, begged more questions than it answered. A State Water Plan public process is the road less traveled. This road will require enormous fortitude if our anticipated result is that citizens of Colorado will volunteer informed feedback. My hat’s off to this effort. It is a good reminder that it will take more than all of us.

Julia Gallucci is the water education coordinator for Colorado Springs Utilities and connects with thousands of adults and children each year.


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H2O Radio

There’s a lot going on with audio water programming. What could be better!? Hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to tune into Connecting the Drops– the program CFWE and Rocky Mountain Community Radio stations partner to produce. But today, we’re focusing on a similar program: H2O Radio, which just released a new story Snow Job, on the work of measuring snowpack. 

Frani Halperin is producer and co-host of H2O Radio

By Frani Halperin, Producer, H2O Radio

H2O Radio is an audio magazine about water. It started like many ideas do, while sitting in a restaurant. Our host, Jamie Sudler and

I were already interested in water issues and felt a growing concern that the constraints on water both locally and worldwide weren’t

getting enough attention. We started a habit of asking our server (as they brought water to the table) if they knew where that water

had come from. The results from our random sampling were pretty revealing. Some did— but many hadn’t a clue— and that was


We decided that we wanted to change that. Our goal was to expand what people pictured when they thought about water. Images of

mountain lakes or swimming pools would surely come to mind, but so should ones of hamburgers or energy or plastics because water

plays a role in nearly every aspect of our lives.

So how do we do accomplish our goal? Our tagline is “Following Water Wherever It Leads.” And that’s what we do. We track water

through many topics and report on what we find. Our topics so far have ranged from beer to bovines, and our stories have included

voices from Taos to Tel Aviv. We think if people better understood the myriad ways in which water touches their lives, they might get

more involved in protecting and conserving this resource upon which all of our lives depend.

We produce shows in various formats: Longer in-depth pieces, as well as a short weekly segment called “This Week in Water” which is

posted every Sunday and is a wrap-up of water in the news.

And although we have a global perspective, we take pride in being a Colorado nonprofit. For that reason, we have been involved in

keeping Coloradoans up-to-date on the State Water Plan in development. In early March, Jamie hosted a live

call-in show on KGNU with James Eklund, Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Abby Burk with the Audobon Society

and Sean Cronin, the Chair of the South Platte Basin Roundtable. There are plans to continue the panels in the coming months.

We take our role seriously. We interview experts— from engineers and scientists to legislators and politicians in order to get the facts.

But we also try to make our stories personal so we talk to ordinary citizens to ask how water issues affect their lives. Why? Because

we’re all in this together. We see H2O Radio as a conversation about water and our collective water future together. For that reason, we

welcome input and feedback and encourage listeners to send story ideas they’d like us to cover or investigate.

Learn more at:, follow us on Twitter at @H2OTracker or check us out on Tumblr at

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New Leadership is Growing

Class of 2014 during their March training with CFWE and MORF Consulting in Greeley

Class of 2014 with CFWE and MORF Consulting in Greeley

CFWE is proud to announce our 2014 class of Water Leaders! This diverse and talented group of mid-level water professionals have started a journey to develop their leadership potential. The first training on March 17-18 focused on self-awareness and functional team-building. The group also examined how regional leaders have effectively built water teams in northeastern Colorado by numerous guest presentations and excursions at the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley.  Subsequent trainings will be in Fraser on May 15-16, Pueblo on July 31-August 1 and Denver on September 18-19. Join us in welcoming them to your community!

Congratulations to:
Jason Carey, River Restoration
Adam Cwiklin, Town of Fraser
Aaron Derwingson, The Nature Conservancy
Julia Galucci, Colorado Springs Utilities
James Henderson, 711 Ranch
Dawn Jewell, City of Aurora
Laurna Kaatz, Denver Water
Aimee Konowal, CDPHE Water Quality Control Division
Steve Malers, Open Water Foundation
Maria Pastore, Grand River Consulting
Klint Reedy, Black & Veatch Corporation
Gigi Richard, Colorado Mesa University
Jennifer Shanahan, City of Fort Collins
Enrique Triana, MWH Americas
James VanShaar, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Since 2006, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Water Leaders Program has provided training in conflict negotiation and interpersonal communication to over 80 participants across Colorado. Water Leaders participants benefit from extensive self-assessment and networking opportunities with similarly accomplished colleagues.


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