It's late Wednesday afternoon and I'm about ready to head to the airport and back to rainy Oregon. Just time for some stream-of-consciousness thoughts about the past two days. These are in no particular order.
1) You've all heard about the 'Yuck Factor', 'Toilet-to-Tap', or the euphemism, 'Showers-to-Flowers'. Add a new one to that mix: 'Ass-to-Tap'. One of my esteemed colleagues called the Orange County Water District's Groundwater Replenishment System the best 'Ass-to-Tap' system in the world. In any case, it's no doubt much better than the Las Vegas tap water.
2) Great seeing some old friends and making new ones. That's mainly why I come to these meetings.
3) The Las Vegas Hilton has long since seen its better days. Rumor has it that it will no longer be a Hilton (standards are not high enough) as of 1 January 2012 and will be known as 'The LVH'. Should I ever come back to another Ground Water Expo, I won't stay here. Neither should you, unless you pay under $50/night. No, make that under $35/night.
4) I reaffirm what the San Remo Hotel desk clerk told me in the late 1990s: Las Vegas does not have tourists, it has marks.
5) I am actually getting free Internet in the Las Vegas Convention Center. That makes up for the $3.50 soft drinks in the vending machines. I'm awaiting the pop-up ads from the escort services. Ditto for McCarran International Airport.
6) NGWA's membership is about 11,500. When I left the Board of Directors six years ago, it was around 14,500. My division, the Scientists & Engineers Division (SED) has dropped from about 10,000 to 7,500 or so. We're retiring, and consultants have been hit by the recession.
7) Perceptive comment from friend Dan Stephens, the rising chair of the SED. Societies like AGU and GSA have not seen their membership drop as much because they cater mainly to academics and government researchers who have been less impacted by recession. Makes sense to me.
8) NGWA was told by a consultant years ago that it needed to change or it would die out; it hasn't changed. One suggestion: try to entice more members from the industry drilling large capacity (> 500 or 1,ooo gallons per minute) wells. Most of the contractors in NGWA are small-well drillers - individual domestic wells, small irrigation or municipal wells, and monitoring wells. They fear the competition from the big boys, who might want to see NGWA promote large water systems that would provide water to rural residents via a long pipe, which would be supplied by a few high-capacity wells instead of many small wells.
9) Sad to hear about a colleague who is doing great hydrophilanthropic work and research in West Africa but isn't fully supported by his university because he doesn't work in East Africa, where they want him to work. Go figure.
10) I hope NGWA supports Steve Schneider's Water Supply Well Guidelines for Use in Developing Countries. Otherwise, it's another lost opportunity.
11) Stimulating meeting of the Developing Nations Interest Group. But we have to get away from 'war stories' and develop an action plan.
12) Steve Silliman gave an inspiring Darcy Lecture!
13) I hope the Delegates change the Code of Regulations tomorrow afternoon to provide for a more equitable distribution of NGWA board members. I am not optimistic; a two-thirds majority is required.
Great people make a great meeting!
I'm outta here!
"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." - Scott Hamilton