A warm welcome to the 2024 World Water-Tech Innovation Summit. Hear from the Rethink Events team on the key themes for this year’s summit, and what you can look forward to over the next two days.
Monday February 19, 2024
7.00-10.30pm // Pre-Summit International Reception
British Water will host a pre-summit international reception providing a platform for those involved in the global water market to meet international operators, consultants, contractors, technology suppliers, research institutions, government departments and funding agencies. More details here.
DAY 1: Tuesday February 20, 2024
- As extreme weather events intensify, how can a systems thinking approach be used to improve watershed management and enhance resiliency?
- As demand from industry, energy production and consumers rises, what are the key barriers that utilities and policymakers face when engaging in cross-sector collaboration for water management?
- How can collaborative efforts between government agencies, research institutions, and technology companies be enhanced to ensure that systems thinking accelerates the implementation of technological innovations?
- What examples are there of successful initiatives that have leveraged systems thinking to drive technological advancements for better watershed sustainability? What were the outcomes and lessons learned?
Carly Perry, Managing Director, SPRING, UK
Mark Smith, Director of Water, RSK, UK
Severn Trent, Melbourne Water, and Aarhus Vand have formed a dynamic partnership focused on knowledge sharing, technological innovation, and asset management. Hear how they are collectively driving the water sector towards a more efficient, innovative, and environmentally responsible future.
Bob Stear, Chief Engineer, SEVERN TRENT, UK
- How can organizations effectively measure, manage, and reduce their Scope 3 carbon emissions, especially in cases where they involve complex supply chains and indirect sources of emissions? What successful strategies and innovations can minimize embodied carbon in infrastructure and operations?
- Beyond carbon emissions, what technologies can be employed to address and mitigate emissions such as nitrous oxide and methane, and how do they factor into overall emissions reduction efforts? What is the capacity of bioelectronics and microbial electrosynthesis?
- What are the key challenges and gaps that need to be addressed when accounting for emissions related to treatment chemicals, operational chemicals, and other indirect factors within the water industry’s operations?
- What opportunities do AI and other smart technologies offer utilities and companies across the supply chain to measure and prevent emissions? How can these be harnessed to reduce the harmful GHG emissions at each stage of water distribution and treatment?
- As wastewater treatment plants struggle with rising energy costs and net zero targets, what is the significance of automated treatment systems? What benefits can be realised by automating wastewater treatments such as aeration blowers and finetuning data access? What innovative technology is available for reducing the need for high energy treatment processes such as blowers?
Tom Freyberg, Founder, ATLANTEAN MEDIA, UK
Victor Ollivier, Managing Director – International Water Business Unit, PURECONTROL, FRANCE
Hear from three global utilities as they share their strategies for circularity across the wastewater and distribution network. What can be learned? What can be improved?
Harry Sachinis, CEO, EYDAP, GREECE
One of the most interactive sessions of the programme, each roundtable discussion group is hosted by an industry expert on a specific theme offering you a valuable opportunity to network, brainstorm solutions and discuss ideas with your peers on shared areas of interest.
- As concerns around energy efficiency and net zero emissions rise in the face of climate change and energy price volatility, what role can hydrogen production play in the water sector and what impact could it have on water utilities?
- What strategies and incentives can be adopted by utilities to become their own customer in the hydrogen production process, and how can this self-sufficiency impact sustainability and cost-effectiveness?
- To engage a broader spectrum of stakeholders, what collaborative approaches can be employed by the water industry to influence energy policy effectively? How can we become more proactive rather than reactive in the face of energy policy that influences the water sector?
- Considering environmental factors such as water scarcity, how does the choice of geographical location affect the feasibility and efficiency of hydrogen generation initiatives? What other factors should be considered when determining optimal production sites?
Gordon Reid, General Manager Zero Emissions, SCOTTISH WATER, UK
Maarten ter Keurst, Managing Partner, NATURAL VENTURES, UAE
- What opportunities exist for extracting valuable resources like bioplastics, biochar, and other materials from wastewater, and how are investments being made to harness these solutions effectively?
- What innovative strategies are being adopted to maximize the utilization of resources from wastewater, ensuring both economic viability and environmental sustainability?
- How can wastewater treatment plants optimize heat recovery and generate revenue from excess heat? What technology and capacity can be harnessed to make it economically viable?
Andrea Aliscioni, Director of Integrated Water Service Division, MMSPA, ITALY
- What pioneering solutions are currently being utilized to enhance real-time monitoring and reporting of contaminant levels within freshwater systems? What role does research and development (R&D) play in advancing the understanding and management of these contaminants on a global scale?
- What are the latest advancements in concentrating, and ultimately destroying emerging contaminants in water sources, and how can these be integrated into comprehensive water quality management strategies?
- How can non-point source contaminants such as agricultural and industry outputs be addressed? What barriers do policy makers face when working towards the banning of PFAS, pharmaceutical and toxic industry outputs into freshwater systems? How can these barriers be overcome?
- What are the latest regulatory changes and standards for PFAs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water quality, and how are water utilities and treatment facilities adapting to meet these updated requirements?
- In terms of wastewater discharge, what recent regulatory updates have been implemented to monitor and control PFAs and pharmaceutical discharges into the environment, and how are utilities and municipalities ensuring compliance with these regulations?
- How can protecting natural water sources become a cornerstone strategy for meeting the increasing demand for potable water, and what conservation measures can be implemented to safeguard these vital resources?
Tony Harrington, Director of Environment, WELSH WATER, UK
Vera Eiró, CEO, ERSAR, PORTUGAL
Marcus Rink, Chief Inspector, DRINKING WATER INSPECTORATE, UK
Matthew Hawkridge, CTO, OVARRO, UK
Meet our pick of the most exciting water-tech innovators. Each presenting company will pitch to a panel of investors, who are keen to ask questions and dig deeper into their value proposition.
DAY 2: Wednesday February 21, 2024
- How can the implementation of smart water infrastructure contribute to more efficient water resource management, particularly in regions affected by climate change-induced droughts?
- In what ways does smart infrastructure enhance the resilience of water systems to extreme weather events and provide early warning capabilities to address climate-related challenges? How can early drought planning solve water shortage problems?
- What impact does the integration of smart water solutions have on reducing water leakage, and how does this contribute to climate change mitigation and resource conservation efforts? How can IoT, satellite and AI allow for utilities to pin-point network stresses and asset health to avoid NRW?
- What impact can smart systems such as smart metering have on customer awareness about water reduction and reduction of water waste through leaks? How can scale be achieved across the globe effectively?
- As the UK is set for AMP8 asset management reviews, what can we expect to see for the future of asset health from the developments planned? How is this going to impact the consumer?
Alexandra Barnes, Programme Director, BRITISH EXPERTISE INTERNATIONAL, UK
Sascha Kuflik, Business Unit Director Water, SEBAKMT, GERMANY
Karl Cilia, CEO, WATER SERVICES CORPORATION, MALTA
- How can innovative water recycling technologies overcome regulatory and public perception challenges to promote broader acceptance and adoption of recycled water in various sectors, including agricultural and industrial applications?
- In terms of resource intensity, what environmental impacts, such as emissions, chemical usage, and energy consumption, are associated with water reuse? What technological advances are addressing these challenges?
- Are water reuse technologies scalable for widespread adoption, and what is their cost-benefit profile? How well do they align with the needs of water companies and municipalities?
- What role do emerging technologies play in optimizing the quality and safety of recycled water, to ensure it meets stringent health and environmental standards?
- What is the global landscape of regulation governing water reuse, and what gaps still exist in this evolving field of sustainability and resource management?
Reinhard Huebner, CEO, SKION WATER, GERMANY
Delegates attending the physical event in London will take a brief networking coffee break.
Hear from a cohort of organisations who are leading the charge against nonrevenue water, with time for Q&A.
Piers Clark, Chairman, ISLE UTILITIES, UK
Javier Fernandez Delgado, CTO, CANAL DE ISABEL II, SPAIN
- How can utilities prepare assets and infrastructure for an influx of additional water, wastewater and biosolids? What are the most exciting innovations for managing this cost effectively?
- With restrictions due to tighten across Europe on spill frequency and pollutant levels in the upcoming year, how can utilities prepare and what are the success stories and learnings?
- As utilities become smarter and employ larger numbers of remote sensors, how can this data be harnessed to analyse events and make real-time decisions? How can utilities move from being data rich and knowledge poor, to optimising the data being gathered?
- How does the integration of AI and smart systems in flood control align with broader sustainability and climate resilience goals, and what future developments are anticipated in this field?
- How is AI integrated into smart systems to enhance real-time monitoring and control of water levels during flooding events, and what advantages does it offer over traditional approaches? What is the capacity of AI applications in enabling predictive modelling and early warning systems to allow for more proactive flood control measures?
- What is the potential for wastewater plants to enhance non-grey infrastructure to cope with influxes of rainwater? How can utilities work with city planning, government and policy makers when addressing the enhancement of CSOs and aging infrastructure?
Phil Tomlinson, Commercial Director, METASPHERE, UK
Christa Campbell, Director of Industry Solutions: Water, ESRI, USA
- As increased rainfall wreaks havoc in highly urbanised areas, how can nature-based solutions be applied to assist in a ‘sponge city’ capacity?
- How do nature-based solutions compare to traditional infrastructure approaches? What CapEx and OpEx are associated with building green infrastructure as opposed to grey? How can finance be attracted to this more nascent form of water sustainability?
- How can nature-based solutions be integrated with traditional infrastructure to optimize water utility operations and enhance resilience? How can nature-based solutions be incorporated into development strategies going forward?
- What strategies or models exist for including local stakeholders, such as councils, businesses, and farmers, in the planning and implementation of nature-based solutions to ensure their effectiveness and support sustainable water management practices?
- What innovative engineering techniques are being used to design and implement nature-based solutions in the water industry?
Thomas Sagris, Associate Director, ARUP, UK
- How can the water industry collaborate with food and beverage brands to ensure sustainable water use in their production processes, and what technologies are available to optimize water efficiency within this sector?
- What strategies and technological innovations can facilitate partnerships between the water industry and pharmaceutical companies to address water quality and conservation challenges, especially in pharmaceutical manufacturing and wastewater treatment?
- In the context of agriculture, how can the water industry leverage technology and collaborate with farmers to promote responsible water use, reduce water waste, and enhance water quality in irrigation and crop production?
Lila Thompson, Chief Executive, BRITISH WATER, UK
- As investment in the water sector continues to grow, what key developments or innovations are contributing to the sector’s ability to attract and sustain funding? Where are the next big funds going to arise from and what will likely be their focus?
- How are strategic investors increasing their participation in early-stage funding and what specific trends or factors are driving this increased interest?
- Why are early-stage water sector ventures facing greater challenges in securing financing, and what are the main obstacles they encounter in comparison to more established players? How can start-ups strategically position themselves for successful funding despite this?
- What initiatives or strategies are helping the water sector overcome barriers to investment and facilitate its growth?
- What is the value proposition of private investment for infrastructure maintenance and improvements for utilities?
- What innovative financing strategies and models can be adopted to secure sustainable funding for infrastructure development and modernization in the water sector, ensuring its long-term viability? What is the potential for increased ESG spending in water resiliency?
Mark Lambert, Managing Partner, WATERMARK RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, USA
Avent Bezuidenhoudt, CEO, EARTH CAPITAL, UK