ow. What a crazy few months. Since June, I’ve been to Shanghai, Mexico City, São Paulo, Porto
and last but no means least, Amsterdam. For the latter, I was invited to moderate the Opening
Ceremony of the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW). This included introducing
the World Bank, European Commission, two major award ceremonies and even welcoming Dr
Samuel Sarphati back from the afterlife who made a brief appearance to talk about his legacy
in Amsterdam. Yes, you heard that correctly. This was then concluded with the Prime Minister
of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, who arrived promptly to open the event. “More and more
people around the world are experiencing the destructive power of water,” he said. Speaking
to a crowd of nearly 1000 and shaking hands with the PM and other keynote speakers was
defnitely a career highlight for me and a refection that (some) country leaders are now taking
Had there been time in the packed agenda, I would have asked the country’s leader to “have
a word” with my Prime Minister the next time he’s in the UK in the hope that his passion and
interest in water would pass over. Can you imagine Theresa May at the opening ceremony of a
UK-based water sector event? Me neither.
Across the course of the week, a total of nine “Amsterdam Agreements” were signed, to bring
together companies, institutions and authorities in the water sector. This included the “Blue
Deal” – all 21 Dutch regional water authorities will set up an international program to improve
food protection and access to water worldwide. AIWW also signed a partnership with the
Singapore International Water Week. Asia’s leading show in 2018 will be used as a pit-stop in
the two-year journey until the next AIWW. Progress will be reported and discussed from the
It’s interesting to see two events, which in the past could be called rivals, coming together. I’m a
huge fan of the setting of clear goals and addressing progress during the next event. There are too
many generic water events now that simply add further debate, often unnecessarily, with no real
breakthroughs or concrete solutions being adopted.
One of the themes from the event was “achieving real breakthroughs” which is spot on. We know
that globally the collective engineering know-how and expertise exists to solve any water problem
–the challenge lies in pushing the solutions through the myriad of political roadblocks while fnding
the money to do so.
While visiting multiple companies during the Aquatech exhibition side of the event, there was
a clear indication where the innovation is coming from. From the membrane companies, there
was less talk on the membrane, product innovation but more of a focus on the software side. Dow,
inge and Lanxess all centred their discussions and press briefngs around software modelling.
By modelling how the membrane units ft within a water treatment plant, several variables can
be changed, including feedwater type and fow, to see how this will impact the membranes and
their associated energy usage. With the market being so competitive, it’s forcing manufacturers
to showcase technical expertise more than just the sale of the product. Support is required before,
during and after in a more consultative approach.
Now that the event “silly season” has come to an end, it’s time to refect on another busy year
before it cranks back into motion again in January. I hope you’ve lapped up the international event
itinerary and variety this industry brings as much as I have in recent months. Enjoy the issue.
Tom Freyberg, Chief editor
REFLECTING ON THE EVENT
The two major water weeks in Europe and Asia are joining forces to
report on the progress of the nine Amsterdam Agreements set out
earlier this month.