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Welcome to GAWP

Thank you for your interest in the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (a 501-C-3 not-for-profit organization). Included on this website, you will find information designed to enhance your career and to broaden your understanding of the Water/Wastewater field. We have endeavored to make this site a useful and dynamic source of up-to-date information.

Historically, our Association's primary focus has been to provide education and training opportunities for people working in the water and wastewater field, and we are continually expanding and enhancing our services to our membership, other elected officials, the media, and the public.

In addition, the Association has increased the scope of its activities and the depth of its involvement, becoming a prominent and authoritative source of information on water-related issues to the General Assembly and If you are not an active member, we encourage and invite you to consider joining others who have decided to be a part of this preeminent environmental association. If you are an active member, we appreciate your continued support and welcome your input.

Mission Statement
The Georgia Association of Water Professionals educates, provides professional development and promotes sound public policy in the water resources and related environmental fields.

Vision Statement

The Georgia Association of Water Professionals will be the go‐to source for reliable information on Georgia's water resources for water professionals, decision makers, the media, and the public. 

Executive Director

Pam Burnett

Pam’s entire 35-year career has been in the field of water management, primarily serving water utilities.  She started her career in 1976 in the Engineering Division of the St. Paul District Corps of Engineers.  She later joined the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Madison in the Water Regulation Division.  She rejoined the Federal Government following graduate school, working as a hydrologist for the National Weather Service offices in Tulsa and Atlanta.  She worked for the Atlanta Regional Commission in the mid-1980s, and began working with local water managers and utilities.  Pam became a consultant with Jordan, Jones & Goulding in 1987, and joined AECOM in 2005 as a Vice President and senior water resources practitioner. 


She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. She is a graduate of the 2008 class of Leadership Cobb, and the 2013 Gwinnett Senior Leadership Class, and a 2010 graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL).  She recently served for three years as the Chair of the Advisory Board for Georgia Southern University’s College of Engineering and Information Technology.


Pam enjoys family time combined with travelling, hiking, biking, live music, dancing, and dessert.  She recently hiked the Julian Alps in Slovenia, and travelled with her family to the Pantanal region in Brazil in April to explore the largest wetland ecosystem in the world.  She just returned from another trip with her family to Brazil and Argentina to explore the largest waterfall and hydroelectric dam in the world.  (Water is more than her profession...water fascinates her.) 


GAWP President

John L. Sawyer

John is the Bureau Chief of Public Works and Water Resources for the City of Savannah, Georgia. He has over 30 years of experience in all facets of management, capital projects, system design, daily operations, process control, and SCADA systems associated with the treatment and supply of both groundwater and surface water systems. He has been intimately involved with the saltwater intrusion issues of Coastal Georgia/South Carolina and served on the bi-state Technical Advisory Committee. He also has vast experience in municipal wastewater systems and in 2008 became Savannah’s Director of Water and Sewer upon the retirement of Harry Jue. In 2012, he expanded his role again and in addition to the water and sewer systems is now responsible for the overall management of the City’s stormwater systems as well as the transportation and road systems. He has also been appointed to the Coastal Water Planning Council.

John is longtime member of GAWP and AWWA. He has been active in the annual legislative discussions and involved as an instructor for GAWP’s Leadership Academy. He was the recipient of the Elizabeth McEntire Award in 2007, the Hugh A. Wykcoff Award in 2011, and is a member of the 5S Society.

John is originally from Clarksville, Tennessee, and received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1986. He holds Professional Engineer licenses in the states of Georgia and Tennessee and a Class 1 Water Operator Certification in Georgia. He has been married since 1985 to his high school sweetheart, Joyce, who is a second grade teacher, and they have two children, Lauren and Brad. 


GAWP Biography

The Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) is a not-for-profit Association founded in 1932 with membership of over 4,000 water and wastewater treatment plant operators and managers, municipal and industrial officials and environmental managers, civil engineers, environmental engineers, scientists, manufacturers and their representatives, contractors, elected officials, and others concerned with Georgia's water resources. GAWP also has over 300 Utility and Corporate organizational members. Our chief purpose is to educate and assist those who have an interest in the proper management and protection of Georgia's water resources. Our membership also includes the professionals who implement state and federal water supply, water protection, and water resources laws and regulations.

GAWP is dedicated to exceptional professional education, dissemination of sound technical principles and scientific information, increased public understanding, and promotion of valid public laws and programs. Our chief purpose is to assist those who have an interest in water, wastewater, and related topics in the State of Georgia. GAWP holds four major technical conferences over the course of the year and conducts Georgia's second-largest professional meeting with over 1,000 attendees. In addition, the Association hosts or co-sponsors numerous specialty workshops across the state and the Southeast. GAWP is divided into eight geographic Districts, with each District having an appointed Director and an Assistant. We believe personal contact is critical to maintaining a healthy Association and local assistance is achieved via direct support from these 16 volunteers. They, along with eight GAWP employees, deliver exceptional member support services and strive to further Georgia water professional's merit and value on a daily basis.

GAWP also owns and operates the Georgia Water and Wastewater Institute (GWWI), which provides the vast majority of training for water and wastewater treatment plant operators, laboratory analysts, and other water industry professionals in Georgia. For further information on GWWI, visit

GAWP is affiliated with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) through GAWP's WEF Section, which is comprised of some 1,000 professionals in the field of water protection in Georgia. WEF represents public and private water utilities, consulting engineers, equipment manufacturers, elected officials, and others charged with the responsibility of protecting water resources. The Water Environment Federation is an international association of some 40,000 professionals in this field.

GAWP is affiliated with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) through the Georgia Section of AWWA. The Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association is comprised of some 1,200 professionals in the field of water supply in Georgia. AWWA represents public and private water utilities, consulting engineers, equipment manufacturers, elected officials, and others charged with the responsibility of providing a safe and clean supply of drinking water. The American Water Works Association is an international association of some 60,000 professionals in this field.

GAWP is also affiliated with the American Water Resources Association through its respective Georgia Chapter, the Georgia Ground Water Association and the Georgia Water Wise Council. Each of these organizations has approximately 200 members within the total membership of GAWP.