Annual Conference Examines Nexus of Water Loss, Asset Management

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The Water Asset Management + Water Loss Conference drew nearly 100 attendees last week to the Hyatt Regency Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. The conference gathered executive-level water and wastewater utility representatives, including CEOs, general managers and superintendents, as well as municipal engineers, consultants and service providers to learn about the latest trends and challenges in both water loss and water utility asset management.

The 2016 Water Asset Management + Water Loss Conference was sponsored by Fluid Conservation Systems, Echologics, Matchpoint, Pure Technologies, Technolog, RePipe 4710 and RS Technik.

This annual event, which has its roots dating to 2001, has historically been a program focused exclusively on water and wastewater utility asset management. This year, in addition to the asset management track, the program featured a separate, concurrent track highlighting water loss challenges and solutions while examining the nexus between water loss control and utility management strategies.WAM_-Water-Loss-Logo_web

“The Water Asset Management Conference has been a unique event because of its focus specifically on water and wastewater utility asset management,” said Bernie Krzys, CEO and publisher of the journal Water Finance & Management, organizers of the conference. “This year we felt there was an opportunity to add a new component to the program, and on the drinking water side, water loss is undoubtedly an issue that needs more attention in our industry from utility leaders, city planners and elected officials. Most people would be surprised to learn the water loss rate in their community. The importance of reducing non-revenue water is a vital element of structuring asset management plans.”

Conference attendees had access to both the water loss and asset management programs.

Kim Colson, director of North Carolina’s Division of Water Infrastructure, is Water Finance & Management’s 2016 Award winner.

The Water Asset Management + Water Loss Conference began the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 18 with an opening luncheon, including the presentation of the 2016 Water Finance & Management Award and an opening keynote. Kim Colson, director of the Division of Water Infrastructure in North Carolina (part of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality), was this year’s award winner. Colson spoke to attendees about North Carolina’s innovative approach to allocating it’s water project funding, including developing its statewide water infrastructure funding master plan.

Keynote speaker Erin Mosley, deputy director of technology and innovation at CH2M, then took center stage with her presentation “Think Differently About the Business of Water.”

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Keynote speaker Erin Mosley, deputy director of technology and innovation at CH2M, opened the conference with a talk on changing attitudes and perceptions about the business of water.

As a leader in innovation, Mosley addressed how global trends and emerging technologies are impacting organizations and utilities around the world as they plan for, build, and manage vital community assets. With a strong background in the water sector, Mosley has helped water utilities develop integrated planning, implement groundbreaking sustainable infrastructure projects, and improve resilience to extreme weather conditions and sea level rise.

Tuesday’s agenda then got under way with the simultaneous asset management and water loss educational tracks in the afternoon. The asset management track featured a session on emerging trends and best practices while the water loss side will explored legislation, regulation and market drivers impacting water loss. The day concluded with reception and keynote for all attendees.

The reception keynote was delivered by Fred Lee of The Actual Brewing Co. in Columbus. Actual joined the Columbus craft beer scene in 2010 and produces a variety of brews found in bars, restaurants and shops across Central Ohio. Lee is an expert in water efficiency practices for the brewing process and presented a fun, informal perspective for the conference’s water experts on water’s essential role in brewing.

The program continued on Wednesday, Oct. 19 with a full day of presentations on each track.

On the asset management side, the agenda featured a morning session on data and information, examining how smart metering, GIS and modeling tools are impacting utility operations and capital planning. The afternoon session addressed asset management repair and replacement, presenting strategies and techniques for completing infrastructure renewal with a focus on lead service lines.

Panel discussion on the water loss track featuring (L-R) Brandon Buckner, City of Asheville; Chris Leauber, Water & Wastewater Authority of Wilson County, Tenn.; George Kunkel, Kunkel Water Efficiency Consulting; Steve Gooding, City of Columbus; and moderator Alain Lalonde, Echologics.

Meanwhile, the water loss track on Oct. 19 included a morning session on approaches to addressing water loss, including auditing, validation and component analysis, as well as approaches to both apparent losses and real losses. The afternoon session focused on the implementation of water loss control programs, including presentations on managing non-revenue-water, pressure management and leak detection.

One of the hallmarks of the Water Asset Management + Water Loss Conference is the interactive dialogue among participants. The limited-seat venue was ideal for back-and-forth discussion that is often missing from industry events. CEUs are always available for Water Asset Management Conference attendees.

 

In addition to its sponsors, organizers of the Water Asset Management + Water Loss Conference are proud to have had the support of several prominent advocacy organizations representing the water and wastewater sectors: The Cleveland Water Alliance; the National Association of Water Companies; the International Private Water Association; the National Association of Sewer Service Companies; the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition; the PVC Pipe Association; Cityworks; the Buried Asset Management Institute-International; and the Water Finance Research Foundation.

For more information on the Water Asset Management + Water Loss Conference, visit the conference website.

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