WE&RF, WRF agree to merge

The Boards of Directors for the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and Water Research Foundation (WRF) have voted unanimously to integrate the two organizations into one research foundation. Bringing the two foundations together creates a stronger, broader, more interconnected research agenda that offers greater value to the water community.

The integrated organization will be The Water Research Foundation.

Separately, the two foundations each have had a rich history of effective and impactful research supporting the water profession and sector. Their integration is aimed at creating greater synergy and partnerships.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the new organization will be led by a single Board of Directors comprised of the directors from the two organizations with co-chairs Chuck Murray and Kevin Shafer and co-CEOs Melissa Meeker and Rob Renner. The new organization will have approximately 1,200 subscribers, 2,300 research studies, and a $700 million portfolio.

“The decision to integrate these two organizations is a great victory for the water community,” said Rob Renner, CEO of WRF. “The new organization will leverage resources and funding to solve the water sector’s research needs in new and exciting ways.”

“Harnessing the collective passion of our staffs, volunteers, and supporters to focus on research which meets the needs of all water professionals will provide an outstanding benefit for our subscribers,” further explained Melissa Meeker, WE&RF CEO. “We are looking forward to the challenge.”

The integration represents the evolution of water research issues, the overlap between water and wastewater, and efficiencies to be gained through a consolidated research program. The new organization will provide a unified source for One Water research and serve as a model for collaboration across the water industry.

The merger was completed with support from both AWWA and WEF.

“The members of AWWA envisioned and created the Water Research Foundation in December 1966 with a small budget and an unwavering commitment to scientific research that protects public health,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance in a statement. “The foundation’s growth into the preeminent drinking water research organization has been a source of pride for the Association.

“The integration between WRF and WE&RF reflects a growing recognition that water must always be understood in the context of the complete water continuum. AWWA is excited that the newly formed organization, The Water Research Foundation, will bring scientific research across the entire water cycle into a single repository of knowledge.”

The Water Environment Federation and its members supported the original founding of the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), WE&RF’s predecessor in 1989 showing WEF’s long-standing commitment to research and innovation. WEF has maintained a close, productive relationship with WERF and then with WE&RF, including nominating representatives to their Boards. At WEFTEC 2017, the WEF Board approved a $75,000 donation to support WE&RF research. WEF looks forward to strong collaboration with the new organization.

“The integration of WE&RF and WRF is a forward-focused, positive change that will bring tremendous value to the water sector, including WEF and its members,” WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill said. “WEF’s close partnerships with the water research community will continue and the integration of the two foundations will certainly provide new and exciting opportunities to advance our mission.”

Additional information is available at www.werf.org and www.waterrf.org.

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