Creating a Sustainable and Resilient Water Future in SWPA

About SWPA Water Network

Welcome to the SWPA Water Network, a collaborative effort to promote sustainable water management practices and protect the water resources of the Upper Ohio River Basin. Our vision is to create a more sustainable and resilient water future in the region by working together with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and community groups. We believe that water is a vital resource for the region's economic, social, and environmental well-being, and our goal is to provide access to clean and safe water for all residents of the region.

Our purpose is to promote collaboration, coordination, and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders in the region's water management community. We strive to create a culture of transparency, trust, and cooperation among stakeholders by providing a forum for sharing best practices, identifying challenges, and developing innovative solutions. We believe that sustainable water management requires the participation and collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders, and we seek to create opportunities for all stakeholders to get involved.


Our goals are organized into three main categories: knowledge, coordination, and action. We aim to promote data collection and analysis, increase public awareness of water issues, and foster a culture of learning and continuous improvement. We promote collaboration and coordination among stakeholders, develop partnerships and networks, and advocate for policies and regulations that support sustainable water management. We implement best practices and innovative solutions, engage communities in water management efforts, and promote equitable access to clean and safe water. We believe that by working together, we can create a more sustainable and resilient water system for the Upper Ohio River Basin.

Strategic Working Group (SWG) Overview:

The Strategic Working Group (SWG) plays a crucial role in providing operational leadership and strategic direction for the Network. Its primary objectives include:

  1. Creating forums and working groups to facilitate information sharing, leverage existing research efforts, and amplify future learning initiatives.
  2. Developing and implementing a regional water vision.
  3. Attracting additional resources to support water-related endeavors.

Current SWG Members:


  • President: John Detisch (Izaak Walton League)
  • Vice-President: Mary Burris (Lawrence County Conservation District)
  • Treasurer: Catherine Tulley (Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission)
  • Secretary: Jo Anne Tippett (Lincoln Lemington Community Consensus Group, Green and Beautification Team)

Other Members:

    • Renee Dolney (Chalfant Run/Thompson Run Watershed Association)
  • Beth Dutton (Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority)
  • Annie Quinn (Mon Water Project)
  • Jan Raether (City of Pittsburgh)
  • Rachel Spirnak (West Virginia Water Research Institute)
  • John Wenzel (Conemaugh Valley Conservancy)

SWG Working Groups:

The SWG coordinates information-sharing and action campaigns among government agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and community groups. There are two types of working groups:

  1. Standing Working Groups: These operate continuously.
  2. Ad Hoc Working Groups: Formed for specific needs or issues and dissolved upon completion of their tasks.

Currently Active Working Groups:

  1. Data Collaboration Working Group:
    • Developing a publicly accessible portal for free and open water data related to the Upper Ohio River Basin.
    • Encouraging resource and information sharing.
  2. Drinking Water Standards Working Group:
    • Assessing standards for chemicals and contaminants of concern.
    • Proposing strategies to raise awareness of drinking water quality measures, concerns, and remedies.

Additionally, an Ad Hoc Water Equity Working Group is in progress.

Join the SWPA Water Network and make a difference for our water resources!