WSP Participates in the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition

International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress and Exhibition, which took place in Beijing, China, on September 10-14, 2006, connected more than 4,000 water professionals around the globe, incorporating the professional thought on research and practice, regulators and the regulated, across national boundaries and across the drinking water and wastewater disciplines. Moreover, the event, which built on its predecessors held in Paris (2000), Berlin (2001), Melbourne (2002) and Marrakech (2004). The Congress and Exhibition took place concurrently and facilitated the meeting and knowledge exchange in all aspects of the water cycle. The themes emphasized at the exhibition included i) operating water and wastewater systems, ii) wastewater treatment, iii) water supplies, and iv) drinking water treatment. The Exhibition visitors were primarily Congress delegates, being high-level professionals from utilities, operators, government, researchers, consultants and NGOs. The Exhibition also allowed the global companies and institutions to display their products and services and to exchange market developments and strategies.

The Water and Sanitation Program and the World Bank’s Energy and Water Department participated in both the Congress and the Exhibition. They also made presentations on i) improving water supply and sanitation services (WSS) in small towns, ii) strategic directions to be taken in WSS, iii) reforming public utilities, iv) regulation in the water sector, v) utility subsidies, and vi) the International Benchmarking Network (IBNET). Some of the key lessons highlighted in the presentation on small towns were that there is a need to foster the emergence of local private operators, and to promote economies of scale. As for the presentation made on the strategies in the WSS, one of the major insights highlighted was that fighting poverty needs the full range of water storage and investment options selected and implemented responsibly. While discussing reforming public utilities, presenters focused on the critical dimensions of a well run utility and approaches for implementation. The conference also addressed the realities and practical issues in the design of regulatory arrangements. Another discussion topic raised at the event was the IBNET Toolkit, which is a set of software and guidance documents to help utilities compile, analyze and share performance information for municipal water utilities. IBNET provides access to a large dataset of water utility performance data in the public domain. Currently the database has data available for about 2,000 utilities in more than 75 countries, including China.

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