On Tuesday, August 6th, Connecticut’s Water Planning Council (WPC) presented the Champion of Water Award to Margaret Miner, recently retired Executive Director of Rivers Alliance of Connecticut and a respected, well-known leader in the environmental advocacy community. This is the first award of its kind bestowed by the WPC with the intention of recognizing an individual who exemplifies advocating for the safety and protection of water in the State of Connecticut.
During the presentation of the award, John Betkoski, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) representative and Chair of the WPC, said there was no debate about to whom the WPC’s first annual award should go. “The Water Planning Council is thrilled to recognize Margaret Miner for her leadership, passion, and commitment to protecting the waters of Connecticut,” said Betkoski on behalf of the Water Planning Council.
The Water Planning Council (WPC) is made up of a representative from PURA, the Office of Policy and Management, Department of Health, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It was established by the legislature to “address issues involving the water companies, water resources, and state policies regarding the future of the state's drinking water supply.” The WPC is responsible for spearheading the effort to develop Connecticut’s first State Water Plan which was approved by the legislature in June. Ms. Miner was instrumental in the development of the plan serving on the Steering Committee as well as both the Policy and Science and Technical Subcommittees.
Rivers Alliance was founded in 1992 by the state’s leading river-watershed groups. Its mission is to protect all the state’s waters by working to enact good environmental laws and policies, and to help any person or group dealing with a water-related problem. During her eighteen years as executive of Rivers Alliance, Margaret worked successfully to pass state laws to create a statewide water plan, to protect streamflow in all water courses; to ban the water contaminant MTBE in gasoline; and to restore and protect state funding for the US Geological Survey streamflow gages. She has accumulated numerous awards including the prestigious New England EPA Lifetime Merit Award. She continues her important work with Rivers Alliance as a valued consultant, as a member of the Connecticut Water Planning Council’s Advisory Group, and on the board of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. Prior to coming to Rivers Alliance, she was Executive Director of the Roxbury Land Trust, and before that worked as a news reporter and as a book editor and writer. “She has been a driving force for better water policy for decades. I consider myself very fortunate to have had and continue to have Margaret as a mentor,” said Alicea Charamut, the current Executive Director of Rivers Alliance.
Dwight Merriam, President of the Board of Rivers Alliance, articulated the sentiments of dozens of Margaret’s colleagues, past and present, who attended Tuesday’s meeting to witness the presentation of the award, "The Water Planning Council's recognition of Margaret goes far in expressing what we can never fully put into words....her passionate commitment and tireless efforts to protect our rivers and all our water resources has benefited each and every one of us, and will for generations to come."