Board Member Spotlight for February 2020
Director at Large Alison Witheridge
Job Title: Watershed Scientist
Organization: Denver Water
What is your job in 25 words or less?
I develop a holistic, long-term, and adaptive approach to track, assess, and prioritize water quality threats to Denver Water’s raw water supply and implement collaborative actions to mitigate those risks.
AWRA Member for # years: 2 years as an official member
Positions held in AWRA and years: 2019/20 Director at Large
What is your hometown? I have 3 hometowns from moving around so much: Woodbridge, VA, Encinitas, CA, and Golden, CO.
What is one thing you like to do for fun? Travel
How long have you worked in the water industry and what first sparked your interest in this field?
I’ve been in the industry for about 20 years. I grew up recreating on the Chesapeake Bay, stomping in backyard creeks, and traveling to beachy locations and always had a love of water. I also had a very strong sense that these environments needed protecting and knew that I wanted to do something related to it for my career.
What is one thing you wish you knew prior to starting your career?
That seemingly huge decisions about which college to go to or what job to take is only a part of what has dictated my career path. Luck, timing, and connections have played an incredibly large part in my winding path and there was no “right” decision.
Is there a particular project or program that you have worked on or are working on right now that you would like to tell us about?
Yes! Denver Water’s From Forests to Faucets Partnership to reduce wildfire watershed risks and improve forest conditions. The partnership began in 2010 with the U.S. Forest Service as a response to two major wildfires that burned in critical drinking water supply watersheds. In 2017, a second agreement was signed and expanded forest management work to privately owned land with the Colorado State Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. With matched funding by the partners, investments are anticipated to total over $70 million in priority watersheds over a 12-year period. A story map is available on Denver Water’s website here with more information.
What are some upcoming trends or challenges you see with Colorado water?
The impacts of climate change on water quantity, water quality and forest health.
What value or benefit does being a Colorado AWRA member bring you?
I value the interdisciplinary discussion and networking that AWRA events create.