Although this column normally discusses technical issues relating to drilling or hydrogeology, I occasionally feel the need to get on my soapbox about issues which affect us professionally as drillers, engineers, and hydrogeologists.

All of us owe it to ourselves to be involved in our respective professions. Involvement includes belonging to our respective organizations, such as the National Ground Water Association and state and local organizations relating to ground water, hydrogeology, and engineering. Not only should we financially support these organizations, we should attend meetings and recruit others in the industry to support our causes.

Why? Let's take an extreme point of view. What would happen if there were no professional organizations or anyone "carrying the torch" for our profession? The chances are, if we were not organized and put effort into advancing our profession, some governmental agency would control our profession in a manner they saw fit, without our input. As individuals, it would be extremely difficult to keep abreast of all relevant pending regulations and effectively influence the rule-making process, which in turn affects the way we operate our businesses. Believe it or not, they want and need our input since very few regulators know the day-to-day operations of our business.

We have already seen how "poor" regulations can adversely affect our business. Such situations include unnecessarily permitting and construction regulations and even banning of wells entirely in some areas because we compete for business with public water systems which cannot operate economically unless everyone in the service area is on the system and paying for it.

Things you can do include joining your professional organizations, reading literature sent to you, and attending professional meetings and hearings when rules and laws are proposed which affect our industry. It's much easier to stop or change a law before it's enacted than to remove it once it becomes law. Volunteer when you can. When you attend annual meetings, you probably notice many individuals make presentations and give demonstrations on their own time. These efforts make the meetings/exhibitions possible. Help where you can. Sure there are many reasons not to; however, if everyone chose not to participate, it would be difficult to carry on our business. We need your help! Get involved for the good of our profession.