The American Water Works Association (AWWA) held its annual Conference and Exposition (ACE12) in Dallas, June 10-13, gathering water professionals from across North America and the globe to see the latest services and products available and to discuss some of the major issues across the water industry.

The annual water event featured more than 100 professional sessions comprising of more than 550 presentations. More than 500 service providers exhibited at the event, showcasing the latest developments in all aspects of the water community.

Speaking before an estimated crowd of 2,000 water professionals during a packed opening general session, AWWA president Jerry Stevens urged attendees to renew their commitment to assuring safe water and reliable service for future generations.

“The American Water Works Association has a long and renowned history of serving and protecting the public health, a record we all can and should be proud of,” Stevens said. “Now it is our turn to continue that work and make sure that the highest water quality is preserved for future generations.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and well-known Washington, D.C., pundit Steve Roberts also gave keynote speeches during the show, providing insight into the U.S. political landscape leading up to the fall 2012 presidential election. Roberts commented on advantages and disadvantages for each major candidate and discussed the difficulty in getting people to pay for needed water infrastructure upgrades.

Several individual awards were given out at ACE12. Among them was the A.P. Black Research Awardee, presented to Dr. Steve E. Hrudey. The award is given in recognition of outstanding research contributions to water science and water supply over an appreciable period of time. Dr. Mark LeChevallier, director of innovation and environmental stewardship for American Water in Voorhees, N.J. was awarded the Abel Wolman Award of Excellence.

The Fremont Department of Utilities of Fremont, Neb., won the annual “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test contest, composed of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America. This is the eighth year AWWA has held the national competition.

Also, ACE12 incoming president Charlie Anderson accepted the gavel and committed to exploring new collaborations among AWWA headquarters and the 43 AWWA Sections throughout North America. Anderson, a CDM Smith consultant and former utility director and deputy city manager for the city of Arlington, Texas, succeeds Jerry Stevens from the West Des Moines (Iowa) Water Works as president of the 131-year-old association. Anderson has spent the last four years serving on the AWWA Board of Directors, as an AWWA section director, vice president, and president-elect.

“I want AWWA and the sections to work collaboratively to identify new ways to partner, to share resources and successes, and to take AWWA into a new era of enhanced customer service delivery and educational excellence,” Anderson said.

After a successful 2012 show, water professionals are looking ahead to ACE13, which will be held in Denver, June 9-13, 2013.