The American Water Summit provided the foundation for a successful water future.
In today's world of constrained resources and limited capital, there is a tremendous need to think creatively and implement smarter models for doing business in the water sector. Although the industry is already seeing the impact of new, smarter technologies and innovative project delivery models, more can be done.
A 21st century water sector should embrace and reward best practices, and tomorrow's water leaders must be connected, creative and unafraid to question and improve upon the old paradigms for doing business. The American Water Summit, which took place Nov. 14 and 15 in Chicago, provided the foundation for this successful water future. The Summit brought together leaders from both the public and private sectors to make connections and lay the groundwork for the future of water. Attendees included senior water utility leaders, investors, engineering company executives, and water technology specialists.
Jes Munk Hansen, president of Grundfos North America, gave a speech during the keynote session of the Summit outlining his vision for the future of water. He stressed the importance of new technologies in increasing both water and energy efficiency, as well as the vital role that regulations could play in raising the entire industry to the next level.
“The good news is that we can cut our waste with new technology,” Hansen said. “By applying sensors, software and controls, we can make our water systems smarter and more sustainable. This kind of technology is what Grundfos is all about.”
Hansen also addressed fragmentation within the industry. He urged key players to come together and speak with one voice in order to incite change.
Other notable speakers included Thomas Powers, water commissioner for the City of Chicago, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. The governor is the highest elected official in the state of Illinois, which would be the world's 19th largest economy (between Turkey and Switzerland) if it were an independent nation.
Gov. Quinn outlined his $1 billion clean water initiative, which is expected to create 28,000 jobs.
“No matter where they live, everyone in Illinois needs access to safe, clean water,” Quinn said. “The Clean Water Initiative will ensure that we protect this precious state resource. By modernizing our water infrastructure, we can create tens of thousands of jobs and safeguard our waterways for generations to come.”
He also highlighted the necessity of public and private partnerships in the water industry, and said Chicago would show the nation that protecting water was good for the economy and for our health. Hansen had the chance to meet with Gov. Quinn after his speech to discuss Grundfos' new presence in Chicago, as well as the work we can do to promote water initiatives.
“Chicago is a global leader in architecture and green building, which are important sectors for Grundfos,” Hansen said. “We are excited to increase our presence in a region that is currently emerging as a hub for the water industry.”