“May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.”
— Thomas Jefferson
It was an appropriate setting, the Capitol, as it provided us a great place to examine the critical issues of our day—where decisions routinely impact the entire globe. Washington, D.C., was our playground or more accurately our Aqua Park for a few days during the 130th American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference & Exposition.
Billed as the world’s water event, the one-stop shop focused on the challenges of quality, finance, and sustainability of water and provided more than 100 in-depth educational sessions, which certainly offered something for every one there. The sessions provided numerous chances to attended discussions with experts (including one with a Presidential name) where they shared cutting-edge research and best practices on universal topics and the leadership role needed to assure safe and sufficient water for all.
The current economic environment was a common thread in discussions, but the fundamental need for clean water and the treatment of wastewater remains critical and in fact, there are a number of stimulus proposals around the world identifying waster and wastewater projects as a priority such as:
- Municipal water systems must maintain investment levels to meet their regulatory requirements
- New equipment spending is generally offset by spending in maintenance services
- In developed countries, user fees fund stimulus projects
Additionally, recent initiatives have focused on development of products and systems that conserve energy and water, which result in myriad economic and environmental benefits to users and the communities. And, there were lots and lots of products to see at ACE11 that addressed areas such as:
- Analytical Instrumentation
- UV and Ozone Oxidations
- Pre-treatment Systems
As mentioned earlier, one of the highlights during ACE11 was Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaking to an ACE11 lunchtime crowd, where he promoted free-market solutions to pollution. According to Kennedy, “For the next century, the battles will be about water, not about oil.” It is easy to understand why global energy costs and the need to conserve water are driving demand for high-tech and energy efficiency.
- Over 20% of global energy is consumed transporting and treating water
- Between 30%-50% of the energy consumed by pump systems can be saved through changes of control systems or equipments
- Energy efficiency reduces overall operating, maintenance and environmental costs
Another special event that took place was the Water For People Kenneth J. Miller Founders’ Award Luncheon. What made this an extra special event was that our own, Darrell Jones with ITT W&WW from Suwannee, Georgia, received the prestigious Kenneth J. Miller Founders’ Award for his passionate work and unique ideas to raise funds and promote Water for People activities.
If you recall in our blog last week, AWWA ACE11 did allow time to think about where the water industry is now and what the future might hold. Looking around our booth, it was evident that we are deeply involved in every stage of the cycle of water. Moving forward we will continue to play a critical role in improving the quality of life, helping communities grow, farms to prosper, and industries to thrive as we enable the smarter use of water with innovative water solutions.