New-Year thoughts from the IWA President

Looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, at the future of the water sector

IWA will continue, in 2014 and beyond, to exemplify our motto to inspire change.  In this text, I will examine the changes I foresee for the water sector and our responses.  Planning for change can come about in different ways.  Gradual change comes from embracing existing achievements and continuing to build and improve on them. Revolutionary change comes from new ideas and realising their potential.  As a Change Agent for the water profession, IWA champions both.

It is my belief that we are in the midst of one of the most significant transitions in the history of the water profession.  IWA will continue to provide leadership in this transition.  Urban water management is becoming more integrated into local communities, and this transformation will continue.  Integration focuses  on optimising water use, using human capital effectively, and recovering resources.  This calls for major changes in how utilities are organised, financed, and function. I have illustrated the nature of this transition in Table 1 below.  It shows how I believe future approaches will contrast with historic approaches, which are still very prevalent today.

Table 1.  Comparison of Future with Historic Approaches in Urban Water Management.

We have revised and focused our IWA programmes to accelerate adaptation to the future outlined above.  Our four clusters - the Biocluster, Alternative Water Resources, Resource Recovery, and Smart Networks -function well and engage actively with the relevant Specialist Groups.  Our Programmes and Clusters provide increasing opportunities for member engagement in IWA, supplementing the excellent opportunities already provided by our Specialist Groups.
IWA already has a widely recognized record of accomplishment bringing people and ideas together during our worldwide events. Enabling people to meet in the flesh is quintessential to the IWA.  Events are crucial to the lifeblood of IWA as they provide opportunities to meet, interact, learn, and renew.  In that perspective, 2014 promises to be an outstanding year, offering a mix of both longstanding events and new event initiatives.

The challenges facing the water sector are the result of many factors, with population increases, economic growth, and climate change being some of the principal ones.  Fortunately, the IWA is now better prepared and positioned to provide leadership in response to the needed transformations.  Given what we as water professionals face, I see three major imperatives. Table 2, below, illustrates what they are and how IWA’s Programmes and Clusters are addressing them.

Table 2.  Relationship Between Water Profession imperatives and IWA Programmes and Clusters.

IWA is better connected with policymakers than ever before, informing them on key water decisions and how to pavethe way to new policy approaches.  The request for the IWA to lead the Science and Technology Commission at the 2015 World Water Forum is a visible example of how we are being recognised in this role.

Transforming the water profession to continue to meet our commitment to provide water service to people while protecting the environment - serving people and planet -  is our imperative.  The IWA continues on this path, led by our members and together with our partners, to do so.  Now you see why, despite the challenges we face, I am so excited and optimistic about 2014 and the future beyond!

Best of the New Year
Glen T. Daigger, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, NAE
President, International Water Association
kopia z originálu...
Glen T. Daigger, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, NAE
International Water Association
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