The International Water Association is organising the first IWA Digital Water Summit. Targeting all stakeholders involved in the water sector digitalisation, it is designed to bring together Water technology providers and water utilities with a focus on business and industry. Designed to be the reference in digitalisation for the global water sector, it will take place in Bilbao, Spain, 27-30 April 2020.
Enrique Cabrera, IWA Vice President and Professor at Valencia University expresses that “the idea behind the Digital Water Summit is to bring those people together in a way that experiences can be shared, solutions can be explained, and do what we do best at IWA, which is sharing content and creating networking opportunities for those attending”.
IWA has an opportunity to leverage our worldwide member expertise, to guide a new generation of water and wastewater utilities during their uptake of digital technologies and integration into water services. This Summit is part of a wider initiative to provide a platform that helps utilities recognise emerging digital technologies and solutions, how they can be integrated across the utility value chain, help them learn from it, and help them adapt and embrace change to create value.
The engagement and commitment of incumbents, start-ups and entrants from other sectors is part of the success of digital water technology adoption. Water professionals often lack information technology skill sets and the perspective to appreciate what is possible, while technology entrepreneurs may not understand the nuances of complex water systems affected by multiple factors. Engaging beyond the water sector to maximise the potential of digital tools is crucial, as emphasised by Dragan Savic, CEO of KWR, who is leading the Digital Water Summit programme committee: “Collaboration between sectors will mean the more effective application of new technologies for better management within and beyond our cities”.
There is the necessity of water utilities to embrace digital solutions (smart and resilient water systems across the water value chain. This extends from ‘upstream’ supply – including basins, aquifers, potable reuse, desalination, or moisture capture – to ‘downstream’ utility operations and customers.
“Thanks to digital technologies and growing global consciousness about sustainability, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to solve the world’s water challenges. The IWA Digital Water Summit – the inaugural IWA conference to focus solely on the topic – will be a big step forward in further embedding digital at the core of the water profession” – says Randolf Webb from Xylem, Director, Global Branding and Partnerships.