Jo Ann Jackson, Brown and Caldwell National Water Reuse Leader, reports from the 26th annual WateReuse Symposium held in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sept. 11-14.
Having served on the WateReuse Association Board of Directors since 2001, it's amazing how much the Association and the Symposium have changed over the last decade. Not only has the mission changed to incorporate desalination and other new water sources, but the Symposium has a greater international presence after the addition of a new Australian section two years ago. The conference continues to attract industry leaders and key decision-makers, with attendance remaining strong even in bad economic times — we had nearly 600 attendees this year.
Chris Hill, CSM, leader of BC's Florida Water Team, and I both presented technical papers. BC's Tom Mingee supported Khalique Khan of the Office of Water Resources at Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton on a paper they co-authored.
Senior Engineer Ron Crites, who works out of the Davis, Calif., office, said he enjoyed learning about the latest in the water reuse and desalination business.
“The WateReuse Symposium continues to be a great conference for technology transfer and networking,” says Ron Crites. “Everyone is interested in furthering the cause of water reuse and desalination, which leads to a sense of common purpose.”
Senior Vice President Phil Feeney agreed, and said he was particularly interested in the closing session, “Direct Potable Reuse: Not a Pipe Dream Anymore?” He said the panelists made a good case for increased reuse, calling it inevitable due to changing demographics and noting that as the “desperation factor” goes up, so does the acceptability of potable reuse.
Another of the panelists “presented a strong case that we will not be able to win the ‘non-detectable’ race due to advances in laboratory science and equipment,” Feeney said. “Consequently, we must learn to make the case of how little impact these low levels actually present to human health.”
Chris Hill said he was very impressed with the WateReuse Association after attending his first symposium. He said it’s interesting that one-third of the WateReuse Foundation’s future budget will be set aside for desalination related projects, a noticeable shift from reuse as the main focus of the organization to a mission and vision now based on advancing new water supplies. “As water scarcity and fresh water availability continue to be drivers in our industry, reuse and desalination will play a much larger role in future water supply portfolios,” Hill said.