22nd September

Global representation at water, climate and energy congress

Ray Earle, chair and project manager, Eastern River Basin District
The International Water Association (IWA) is the global leader in advocacy for policy coherence in the inextricably linked natural and anthropogenic cycles of water, energy and other vital resources to support all forms of life on earth.


 Glen T. Daigger leads the industry panel debate at the IWA-WCE Congress in Dublin

Dublin was awarded the hosting of the IWA inaugural World Congress on Water, Climate and Energy which took place at the Convention Centre Dublin, May 13-18. The Congress, which was officially opened by Mairéad McGuinness MEP, was themed Building a Sustainable Global Future with particular emphasis on the water, climate and energy nexus.

Almost 1200 delegates from more than 60 countries attended the CCD. Including plenary speakers, the opening ceremony main speaker and the lunchtime lectures, more than 370 papers and presentations were delivered.

The Scientific Committee, chaired by Professor Michael Bruen of UCD and the Local Organising Committee, had overall responsibility for the content of the Technical Programme. Much work was done in advance of the Congress to ensure that as many areas relevant to the main theme were covered in a coherent and timely manner.

Breakout sessions
Following each plenary session, six parallel breakout sessions occurred daily to ensure that the maximum number of topics was covered. These sessions took the form of oral presentations, workshops and panel discussions and covered a wide range of diverse topics including the economics of water; climate adaptation; water resources management; environmental sustainability; the water energy nexus; utility efficiency; climate change and water resources; developing country issues; water quality trading; GHG mitigation and renewable energy; water and wastewater management; planning and sustainable development.

‘Hot topic’ sessions covered areas such as utility metering and charging; ‘fracking’ and onsite wastewater treatment systems.

Enterprise Ireland hosted the industry day which was attended by Minister of State for Research & Innovation, Sean Sherlock. The plenary session that day took the form of an industry panel debate which was moderated by IWA President Glen Daigger and involved five panelists: Tom Leahy of Dublin City Council; John Shaw, Mainstream Renewable Power; Martin Curley, Intel Ireland; Khoo Teng Chye, Centre for Liveable Cities and Cor Merks, PWN Technologies.

The debate was a lively discussion among the panellists and was deemed to be one of the highlights of the Congress.

Exhibition element
Approximately 200 posters were displayed and generated a lot of interest among delegates as they represented a large cross-section of the research that is being undertaken in the areas of water;  climate, energy and food security in countries all over the world.

More than 30 companies and organisations were represented, with 20 stands in the main exhibition area on the ground floor. All refreshment breaks were held there to facilitate interaction between the delegates, the exhibitors and the poster presenters.

Through the support of the bursary fund, 13 delegates from lower-income and least-developed countries were able to attend.

The countries they represented included: Bangladesh; Brazil; Burkina Faso; India; Malawi; Nepal; Nigeria; Tanzania; Thailand and Uganda. Many of these delegates spoke about the impacts that climate change, food security issues and poor water management were having on their local communities.

Networking opportunities
The delegates were unanimous in their view that the Congress had provided them not only with a chance to deliver their oral or poster presentations, but also with valuable networking opportunities with colleagues working and researching in similar areas around the globe.

Throughout the Congress, the author as chair and some of the plenary speakers and senior IWA staff gave interviews to various media outlets, including RTE Six-One News, Newstalk and the Irish Times.

Throughout the Congress, members of the Scientific Committee were adjudicating on both oral and poster presentations. Awards were also presented at the Gala Dinner in various categories, going to the following:

  • Best Oral Presentation: Matthijs Bonte, KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Netherlands
  • Best Poster Presentation (kindly sponsored by Codema): Anne-Celine Chevremont, Cnrs Imbe, France
  • Runner-up Oral presentation: Bruce Rhodes, Melbourne Water, Australia
  • Runner-up Poster Presentation: - Ted McCormack, Trinity College Dublin
  • Best Young Water Professional: Lars Willuweit, Urban InstituteIreland
  • Best Overall Innovative Award: Sanderine van Odijk , Utrecht University, Netherlands

Two technical tours were arranged for the final day, to Waterford to visit the Integrated Constructed Wetlands and Restoration of Annestown Stream in Anne Valley, and to Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant, Flood Defences and Shanganagh Treatment Works.

Feedback has been extremely positive about the value of the Congress. The declaration, as drafted in Dublin by the IWA’s Water, Climate & Energy Task Group, following a very successful workshop and meeting during the Congress, is currently being reviewed by the Task Group Director.

Once finalised, it will be put before the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Busan, Korea in September for consideration. 

The most up-to-date version of the declaration is due to be published shortly on the IWA-WCE Dublin Congress website. The output from the Dublin Congress is also being reviewed by the IWA’s Strategic Council in the context of other task groups such as Cities of the Future and specialist group clusters.

The plenary speakers numbered 16 in total, and included:

  • Paul Reiter, Executive Director of IWA and PJ Rudden, President of Engineers Ireland, spoke about the context of the congress in terms of Water, Climate and Energy
  • Theo Schmitz, CEO of Vewin and Martin Curley, Director of Intel Labs Europe, covered the theme of Utility Efficiency
  • Mary Robinson, President of MRFCJ and Kevin Parris, Economist OECD, both spoke about climate justice
  • Paul R. Brown, Executive Vice-President of CDM Smith and Christian Clauss & Mike Kehoe, both of IBM, all spoke about the theme of Smart Liveable Cities
  • Khoo Teng Chye, Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore and Genevieve Ferone, Veolia Water, covered the areas of Infrastructure & Governance
  • Einari Kisel, Senior Fellow World Energy Council and Peter Heiland, (SIC adapt!)  spoke about global sustainability
  • James L. Barnard, Black & Veatch and Cor Merks, PWN Technologies, covered the themes of Technology & Innovation


Sponsors and supporters

The IWA publishing organisation in London has agreed the appointment of an editor and sub-editors, to review all applications for the publication of oral and poster papers presented at the Dublin Congress. These are all of a very high standard having already been peer reviewed by the Scientific Committee members, but will be examined further for potential publication in appropriate IWAP journals.

The Congress could not have taken place without the generous support of its sponsors. The primary sponsors were Dublin City Council; Interreg Fund IV and FloodResilienCity. The supporting sponsors were CDMSmith; IBM; RPS Group; Veolia Environment; Enterprise Ireland; the Environmental Protection Agency; Intel; Science Foundation of Ireland and irelandinspires.com.

The general sponsors were CH2MHILL; Pobal; Ernst & Young; ESB International; Borg Gáis; Bord na Móna and Engineers Ireland. It should be noted that the estimated value to Dublin City in terms of exhibitor and delegates’ spend, is believed to be well in excess of €1m. 

Delegates can continue to follow ongoing progress and outputs by checking the IWA-WCE Congress website http://iwa-wcedublin.org/


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