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World Water Day

This year, UN-Water is focusing its World Water Day activities around the topic of “water and jobs” by bringing attention to how the quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods.

Nearly all jobs depend upon water in some way and almost half of the world’s workers are in water-related sectors. MWH is proud to be counted among that group – you could say that water is our job. Each day, our global team supports a vast number of projects that provide communities with access to safe, sustainable water and sanitation. Our employees don’t stop there; they then go one step further, giving their own time to water-related causes as well.

 

world water day

world water day 2016

My Job Makes a Difference…

This World Water Day, we asked our employees a very simple question: how does your job make a difference?

Please read on to learn more about some of our individuals’ contributions.

Lisa Beutler
Lisa Beutler MWH

Principal Public Affairs Specialist
Sacramento, California, U.S.

My job makes a difference because the world is at a crossroads – failing infrastructure and growing uncertainty about climate require today’s water managers to explore new ideas and engage the full system. I help engage participants in new conversations, make room for unheard voices, reveal untold stories and challenge the traditionally unchallenged.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
I started my career as a state park ranger and then became a land manager for a half-million acres of revenue-producing public lands. In this role, I often needed to collaborate with multiple stakeholders to solve problems.  In 2000, one of those opportunities was a major restructure of California’s water planning – and the rest is history.  Now, 16 years later, I am helping to develop my fourth California Water Plan.

How does water positively impact workers?
In 2004, I was an executive facilitator at the World Parliament of Religions. We prepared structured dialog to engage 400 of the world’s religious leaders in considering the role of the faith community in providing clean water.  Nearly every faith has a transformative water story and water is the life blood of a community – yet this was a conversation that had not yet occurred.  Several hundred commitments to mobilize water action were made over the course of two days, resulting in tremendous economic, health and safety gains in multiple communities. Water makes many things possible.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
Working collaboratively with stakeholders and professional water managers, I helped craft new building code standards to ensure flood plains structures are more durable and that residents can exit safely. These standards have increased community resiliency and protected local economies.  I have also helped forge agreements among multiple state and local agencies to get emergency water supplies to communities impacted by drought and helped to create the plan to provide emergency power supplies to keep water treatment systems working during California’s energy crisis and rolling blackouts.

Vishal Dhar
Vishal Dhar MWH

Enterprise Content Delivery Specialist Pune, India

My job makes a difference because I make sure members our global workforce, regardless of region or time zone, have the tools they need to do their jobs and deliver on vital water projects.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
I come from a typical IT services background and had the opportunity to work in a number of different industries. When joining MWH became an option, I was thrilled because I was able to learn something new and contribute to an industry that is about so much more than just the bottom line; the work we do is important for the sustainable future of our planet and it’s amazing to be a part of that purpose.

How does water positively impact workers?
Where I come from the water is given the name Jeevan, meaning ‘life’. This is an appropriate term because water gives us life – it has a positive impact on workers, and on everyone.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
I have come across several situations recently where keeping “lights on” for IT infrastructure has made the difference in helping our company deliver important projects on time. It’s rewarding to have helped keep those applications and servers alive when our engineering teams have needed them most.

Greg Holland
Greg Holland MWH

Process Engineer
Melbourne, Australia

My job makes a difference because my engineering background gives me a chance to get out and help people who need it. In December, I travelled to Cambodia, where I visited two floating villages and saw children were playing and bathing in the very same water they used for drinking and washing food. The toilets also overhang this water. This motivated me to visit WaterAid in Phnom Penh to meet the team and explore how I can get involved with water security in Cambodia.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
I studied chemical engineering at university and wanted to have a positive impact on the environment; because of this, the water industry was a perfect fit. I had an undergraduate placement with MWH in Warrington, U.K. in 2007 and have been with the company since.

Greg Holland MWHHow does water positively impact workers?
At the most basic level for office workers, staying hydrated helps to keep your brain in tip-top shape. Regular breaks to grab a drink of water will also give your eyes a break from staring at your computer screen.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
This month I am taking part in the WaterAid Water Challenge and the only thing I can drink is water. For me, it’s really horrible because that means no coffee! I had a headache for five days, but it’s worth it; the money raised will help fund safe water and sanitation for some of the poorest people in the world. If you feel moved to donate, visit bit.ly/justdrinkwater.

Claire Lindfield
Claire Lindfield MWH

Proposal Manager
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

My job makes a difference because I’m in the Middle East, where there is a lot of rapid and large-scale development and cities and towns need sustainable water supply plans to enable planned growth. This means not only having the infrastructure, but also the institutional capabilities in planning and management. In my job, I help to involve MWH on the projects where we can have the greatest impact in both of these areas.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
Following a high school geography class trip to a local water treatment plant, I a gained a huge respect for the work that goes into bringing water to our taps. This led to me earning a degree in environmental science, followed by work at a water utility.

How does water positively impact workers?
For me it’s simple, without water we don’t work – without water, nothing works!

Share a story from when you made a difference!
I think everyone in the water industry makes a difference, every day, as we look for innovative ways to be more water efficient. On a personal level, I was responsible for reporting a large leak from an irrigation pipe close to where I live in Dubai, which was a small way to help our dry city conserve water!

Richard Maxwell

Graduate Mechanical Engineer
Warrington, U.K.

My job makes a difference because I am currently working on two clean water treatment works, supplying people with the clean water they need to do their jobs. Clean water is a basic human right and is vital for working and living.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
I had an opportunity to work for one of our clients, United Utilities, as a placement student. Whilst on placement, I saw the extent water needs to be treated to make it safe and clean for the environment.

How does water positively impact workers?
For every dollar invested in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), $4 is returned in productivity according to the World Health Organization. It’s a smart aid investment.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
I am a member of a partisan international development group in the U.K., and I have successfully put WASH onto the agenda. The next step is ensure WASH funding is put into policy. I want to ensure that priority is given to this fundamental human right, reflecting the severity of the water crisis facing the world and I will continue to campaign on this topic to drive that change.

Raymond Philippe
Raymond Philippe MWH

Business Development Manager and Water Sector Leader
Santiago, Chile

Business Development Manager and Water Sector Leader
Santiago, Chile

My job makes a difference because water stress is not only an issue of quantities, but more often a problem of qualities. Desalination processes fulfill an important role by providing or assuring required water qualities for human consumption, agriculture and industrial applications, as well in the treatment of the effluents generated by natural and industrial processes.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
My professional background spans chemical engineering, mineral processing and environmental engineering, predominantly in the mining industry. This, combined with my business development experience in an international environment, made the industry a fit for me.

How does water positively impact workers?
Water is vital – there are so many different points of view and stakeholders involved. It requires enormous effort to get everybody on the same page. Within MWH, there is a great variety of specialists to get this going and we do a number of projects that help workers around the world.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
In 2014, I was responsible as technical coordinator for the very successful and well visited international congress on desalination and water reuse – DESAL 2014. Right now, I am working in the same role on DESAL 2016, to be held in Santiago this October. Again, I am looking for opportunities to broaden the spectrum of participants, with water experience from different regions and water consumer sectors, because we can all learn so much from one another.

Carly Speakman
Carly Speakman MWH

Senior Business Services Administrator Melbourne, Australia

My job makes a difference because it allows me to serve as our company’s Victorian state representative for WaterAid, an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. This gives me the opportunity to promote events that raise much needed funds for safe water around the globe.

How did you become interested in the water industry?
I think we were all personally impacted by the effects of the drought in Australia and I was excited when the opportunity to be a part of the solution presented itself. I’m proud to be able to contribute toward securing a better water supply for the future.

How does water positively impact workers?
For those of us at MWH, the mission of assuring reliable sources of water gives us a shared purpose that brings about a wonderful sense of community and togetherness. And our final products positively impact other workers in so many ways.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
Every March, I fully commit myself to WaterAid’s Water Challenge by raising awareness and funding for those that suffer with poor access to a reliable water supply. It’s a great way to raise awareness and it’s good for participants’ health too!

Kedar Teredesai
Kedar Teredesai MWH

Mechanical Designer
Pune, India

My job makes a difference because even though I sit more than 7,500 kilometers away from the U.K., I am able to participate on global teams that play a substantial role on projects for our clients across England. Talk about a far-reaching impact!

How did you become interested in the water industry?
I was always aware that those in the water sector felt a great satisfaction knowing their work improved the living conditions of others. Because I was looking for an opportunity where I could be a part of Building a Better World and helping others in this way, it made sense for me to pursue this path.

How does water positively impact workers?
I can provide one example from a recent project. We worked with a pub owner who was facing a problem of flooding in his basement; in addition to the flooding, the property experienced bad odor issues, particularly in peak business hours. We helped him install a flip chamber nearby with a sensor that detects flooding and activates pumping to the nearest foul water sewer. That change improved work conditions for everyone at this business.

Share a story from when you made a difference!
I recently worked on a project where approximately 150 properties were faced with potential flooding due to overloaded sewer pipes. Our project team was able to design new large-diameter storage pipelines, shafts and a pumping station that resolved the flooding concerns and significantly benefited those properties.

 

How we’re helping the world’s water situation

MWH employees have been active in improving the world’s water situation for nearly 200 years. The videos below show how a few of our employees have been Building a Better World over the last decade by delivering water, sanitation and energy both at home and abroad.

Water Treatment Plant No. 4 – City of Austin, Texas, U.S.

David Harrison, Regional Manager – California, U.S.

Andre Milla, Electrical Engineer – Kentucky, U.S.

Julie Labonte, Director of Programs – California, U.S. 

World Water Day by the numbers

(Source: UN-Water)

  • Percent of the world’s workers in water-related sectors 50%
  • Percent of jobs in the agriculture sector that are heavily dependent on water 95%
  • Percent of workers in the water industry who are employed by water supply and wastewater facilities operators 80%

Want to make water your job?

MWH is always on the lookout for new talent. If working on the best and most challenging water projects around the world appeals to you, please review our current opportunities.

View Current Openings


Did you know MWH “wrote the book” on water treatment?

Water Treatment Principles and Design, now in its third edition, documents technologies, applications and research to help students and professionals alike quench their creative thirst to provide communities around the world with a safe water supply.

“Water Treatment Principles and Designs” is published by Wiley Publishing and is available at major bookstores and by visiting online retailers including Amazon.