Workforce Development


The proposed Smart One Water (SOW) Cyber-Physical-Social infrastructure will transform the way people interact with water services; will advance measurement and decision support technologies for adaptive management of engineered and natural water systems driven by societal needs for resilience, sustainability, and social justice. It is impossible to talk about creating a new Smart One Water norm without discussing workforce development since tools are only effective when people are prepared to use them. All parts of utility operations will be affected: by those who work directly with assets to the top levels of the organization.


Workforce development has always been a challenge for water-related utilities. The added challenges of moving from traditional siloes to a Smart One Water management philosophy adds an additional layer of complexity, but also creates incredible opportunity to increase collaborative efforts and attract previously untapped resources and people. As an industry, it is essential that we develop an understanding of future workforce needs driven by integrated one water governance and management, digital and Artificial Intelligence-driven advancements and that our internal and external workforce initiative evolve accordingly.


NEAR-TERM (1-2 Years): Establishment of the “Integrated Smart One Water Digital Workforce Institute” - Identify stakeholders and establish governance structure; Provide a place for cross industry stakeholders can meet and share data and experiences; and Formalize relationships with existing entities and launch joint research on key opportunities

MID-TERM (3-5 Years): Conduct Formal Research/Needs Assessment- Perform detail market analysis including review of existing studies; Identify gaps in understanding and work with others to develop tools and other information to fill gaps; Produce road map to assist stakeholders in taking the water industry into the next decades

LONG-TERM (5-10 Years): Implementation and Assessment- Implementation of research findings; and Perform assessment and evaluations of the Institute and update the work model as the program develops and needs are assessed.

Workforce Development Workshop Report - Click here to download

Key Presentations

Workshop Overview - Dr. Sunil K.Sinha

Dr. Sunil Sinha is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center of Excellence at Virginia Tech. Dr. Sunil Sinha is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award recipient in the area of sustainable water infrastructure management systems. Dr. Sinha was seed behind “90-minutes” PBS documentary titled “Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure,” that throws light on a long-buried problem — America’s aging water system. He has given many NPR interviews and featured as a water infrastructure expert in a History Channel documentary titled “The Crumbling of America.”

Video Recording



Workforce Issues - Joone Lopez

General Manager - Moulton Niguel Water District

Ms. Lopez is the general manager, which provides water, wastewater and recycled water services to six cities in South Orange County. Before joining Moulton Niguel, she served as the General Manager of Calaveras County Water District located in Northern California. Joone’s prior experience includes working for Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company as its Assistant General Manager and serving as the Deputy General Manager of Central Basin Municipal Water District.

Video Recording

Operationalizing the One Water for Resilience - Hardeep Anand

Deputy Director, Capital Improvement Program - Miami Dade Water & Sewer Department

Mr. Anand has over 20 years of professional civil and environmental engineering experience along with a combination of program management and leadership experience within the public and private sector.

He currently serves as the Deputy Director for Miami Dade Water & Sewer Department and oversees the implementation of the $13.5B Capital Improvement Program for the utility to deliver innovative projects with the objective to position Miami-Dade County as a Utility of the Future. He is engaged in incorporating effective utility management attributes, sustainability and resiliency measures as well as identifying and deploying specific technology applications to realize quality, efficiency and utility resilience.

Video Recording



Workforce Skills - Walter Graf

Program Director - Strategic Asset Management and Intelligent Water Systems - Water Research Foundation (WRF)

Directs Strategic Asset Management (SAM) and Intelligent Water Systems (IWS) Research at the Alexandria office, directed the recently completed USEPA Aging Water Infrastructure cooperative agreement with cumulative budgets of $10+ million.

Video Recording



Workforce Development - Melissa Meeker

Chief Executive Officer - The Water Tower

Melissa has over 25 years of experience in water resources management, with an emphasis on alternative water supply development and research, workforce development and public engagement. Melissa previously served as the CEO of The Water Environment and Reuse Foundation and was instrumental in the merger of three critical water-related research foundations. She also served as Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District and Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Video Recording



Water Workforce of the future - Dr. Glenda R. Scales

Associate Dean for Global Engagement and Chief Technology Officer for the College of Engineering - Virginia Tech

Dr. Glenda R. Scales also serves as the State Director of the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP). As State Director of CGEP, Dr. Scales manages a statewide distance learning program that has a long history – over 30 years – providing working scientists and engineers with access to exceptional graduate degree programs. Dr. Scales also provides leadership for international programs, research computing, and academic computing within the College of Engineering. The Governor recently appointed her to the Southern Regional Education Board. This board works with 16 member states to improve public education, from prekindergarten through postsecondary education.

Video Recording



Workforce Development Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session #1

Breakout Session #2

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