WASHINGTON, D.C. — The arrival of the fall Season in the United States marks the start of an active schedule of interesting water/wastewater conference programs.

One such conference event is the American Water Summit. Inaugurated in 2010, attendance at the American Water Summit keeps growing every year as it has become recognized as a must-attend conference.

Produced by Global Water Intelligence, the American Water Summit has evolved into a very stimulating unique event. The multi-day conference program embraces an enticing format — one that promotes keynote sessions, themed break-out panel strands and focused roundtable discussions. The event unquestionably seeks to generate an interesting series of dialogues among attendees with an emphasis on inspiring interactivity, spontaneity and creative thinking.

More importantly, the Summit attracts the senior decision-makers from both the private and public sectors including representatives from private sector water operators, private sector engineering firms, equipment firms, financial firms, law firms and consulting companies as well as public sector officials from the municipal and state government levels, representatives from the federal government (agencies as well as Congressional team members), leading water-related associations, etc.  

In past years, over 300+ attendees have flocked to this well-designed Summit program. This year, with the Summit back in the Washington, D.C. area, pre-registration has indicated that attendance at the 2013 American Water Summit will exceed the attendance numbers of the first three annual Summit events.   

The upcoming American Water Summit will take place at the Westin Hotel complex located within the Washington DC Dulles Airport. It is scheduled for November 5 through 6.

Entitled “Accelerating Change”, the themes of the upcoming fourth American Water Summit will focus on the importance of creativity when it comes to finance, project delivery and PPP structuring. In other words, how is the water and wastewater infrastructure and service sector appropriately responding to all the challenges that have evolved since the start/conclusion of the global/national financial crisis?

It is duly noted that the financial crisis and its evolving recovery has relieved very few of the financial pressures being experienced by the U.S. water sector — both public and private operations. There is still the need to address the multi years of deferred investment in the sector; the growing competition for water resources among industries (like the energy and mining sector), municipalities and the agriculture sector; and the ongoing reluctance by customers to embrace an increase in water rates.

This year, the American Water Summit seeks to address a number of critical topics that are essential to the water sector, and the importance of appropriately accelerating much needed change in the sector. According to Christopher Gasson, the publisher of Global Water Intelligence, “2013 has cast a long shadow over all the nation’s public services.” Notes Mr. Gasson, the water industry moving forward needs to become part of the future solution for the country — “driving performance, mobilizing investment and inspiring economic growth.”

The opening session of the Summit will include observations by  the current commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental  Protection, the managing director of infrastructure investments at Ullico (the only labor-owned insurance and investment company in the country) and the CFO of Sabesp (a Brazilian water/wastewater utility owned by the state of São Paulo). There is also the strong possibility of a U.S. governor and/or U.S. senator joining this opening session.

The first day of the Summit will also include a number of interesting break-out panel sessions focused on topics such as: the economics of sustainable water; new directions in water finance; what the business sector wants from the water sector; delivering better operational performance;  growth opportunities within the water sector; and investing in the water sector.

Additionally, the opening day of the Summit will showcase a roundtable networking session in which 16+ tables will be set up in a single room — each focused on a different discussion topic spearheaded by an assigned moderator. To date, topics to be addressed include: best practices and trends when it comes to design-build and construction management at-risk (CMAR) delivery methods; growing the market for PPPs in America; developing innovation as part of a water utility’s core competency; emerging trends when it comes to water technology investment; how to identify the 'right fit' procurement method for a major water project; the issue and consequence of fracking; financing environmental technology projects; and a review of innovative financing initiatives available at  federal, state and municipal government levels.

The first day of the American Water Summit will conclude with the much anticipated gala dinner event where the winner of the annual Growing Blue Award will be announced. The award will be presented to an organization or government entity that demonstrates the most effective example of responsibility for promoting and advancing the average individual’s evolving understanding of the importance of water when it comes to the country’s economic and social growth as well as the importance of sustaining the environment. 

The second day of the American Water Summit will open with the much awaited Mayors’ Panel that involves a discussion among mayors from different regions of the country. The mayors will discuss their experiences and strategies for improving and maintaining appropriate high-level water and wastewater services within their jurisdiction/region. All the mayors involved in the panel are active participants in the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Water Council.

Day Two of the Summit will also include the Water Leaders Panel session with senior representatives from both the public and private sectors including the CEO of United Water and the executive director of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority.

The second day will also feature panel sessions focused on the energy-water nexus as well as the importance of leveraging limited finances to deliver the best water services to the end users.

There will be a luncheon keynote speaker on the second day of the American Water Summit. Nancy Stoner who is the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water within U.S. EPA will deliver an address.

The American Water Summit concludes with a visit to Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant which is operated by DC Water. It is the largest plant of its kind in the world. George Hawkins, the General Manager of DC Water, is encouraging all Summit attendees to sign up for this afternoon special tour.

The upcoming 2013 American Water Summit is clearly a conference event not to be missed! 

To read more details about the Summit and to sign up for one of the remaining conference spaces, visit the Summit website at www.americanwatersummit.com.