Attendance Up at Annual Water Conference in 2013

More than 10,500 water professionals from across the country attended ACE13.The American Water Works Association (AWWA) held its Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE13) in Denver, June 9-13. More than 10,500 water professionals from across the country and the globe gathered at the Colorado Convention Center to see the latest products and services available and to discuss some of the major issues across the industry.

Attendees got down to business on Monday, June 9, as dozens of technical sessions began following the popular Opening General Session. The day’s professional program saw two pressing water utility issues attract especially rapt audiences: hydraulic fracturing and cyber security.

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On Tuesday, public officials and water utility professionals spent the week in Denver getting a step up on the key policy and regulatory factors affecting community water service. Also Tuesday, more than 100 elected officials listened as AWWA president Charlie Anderson, Aurora (Colo.) Mayor Stephen Hogan and others spoke to the challenges of planning and paying for water supply and infrastructure projects in tough economic times.

Continuing the trend from recent years, the hot topic on the exhibition floor was efficiency, particularly on the side of energy efficiency, operations and maintenance, and billing and work order efficiency. Water meters and products and services related to water loss management were also a focus for exhibitors.

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Companies and service providers stressed the importance of new technology and how utilities can utilize it to make the best decisions possible in terms of managing resources and spending for infrastructure projects in a climate where budgets are stretched thin. The technology in particular, is one facet of the water utility industry that has seen considerable growth in recent years. Companies developing software dashboards for utilities to manage date are continuing to look for new ways to implement different features of data management, such as GIS, AMI and SCADA into certain platforms to increase efficiency.

On Wednesday, Jim Chaffee, senior consultant with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., officially took over as president of the AWWA, promising to serve “with the same dedication and passion that water people demonstrate every day in providing a better world through better water.” The Gavel Passing Ceremony in the Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center was among the concluding events of the conference.
The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust captured the 2013 “Best of the Best” Taste Test title, which features regional winners from throughout North America competing for the best-tasting water. This year’s contest had 23 entrants; 21 section winners and two Colorado host utilities.

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After a successful 2013 show, water professionals are looking ahead to next year’s ACE14 which will be held in Boston, June 8-12. 

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