Rising to the Challenge

Looking back on 2009, the year presented a number of challenges to our industry. The lingering economic downturn demanded innovation and perseverance. Environmental legislation in California forced dealers to defend their technologies and businesses. In both cases, water professionals have proved to be up to the challenge.

Last year saw the defeat of AB 2270, a statewide bill proposed in California that would have allowed softener bans. This year, a similar bill, AB 1366, appeared in that state and was passed into law in October.

This time around, however, the industry was poised and ready to work with legislators to craft a bill that is more favorable to water professionals while still providing solutions to salinity problems. It targets the regions of the state with only the worst salinity issues and includes favorable amendments that require a series of hearings and notifications before a ban is enacted, allowing water professionals in the region time to react accordingly.

There is more encouraging news for the upcoming year: Congress recently passed a bill allowing businesses to write off losses from 2008, as well expected 2009 losses, against federal taxes on profits from the past five years. The bill also provides an extension to the popular $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers while offering a new $6,500 tax credit for existing homeowners buying a new primary residence. This will undoubtedly create renewed opportunities in the residential market, so be poised to take advantage.

These complex legislative and economic developments present both challenges and opportunities to water professionals. To take full advantage of the opportunities while fortifying your business to face the challenges, industry and community involvement should be a major goal for 2010.

Water Quality Products’ 2009 State of the Industry report, highlighted in this issue, revealed that 42% of respondents do not belong to any state or regional industry trade associations. To ensure success in the future, this must change. As a water professional, you should take advantage of the resources provided by professional associations and take part in community organizations in order to cement your position as a committed and well-known local businessperson.

Along with the State of the Industry Report, this fourth annual 2009-2010 Reference Guide contains helpful business and marketing solutions, sales advice, technology updates and an industry interview on AB 1366.

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