Written by IAPMO-it 3:30 pm ASSE, IAPMO News

Industry Leaders Come Together Apart to Address Water Issues

Virtual Emerging Water Technology Symposium Gathers Water-Related Industries to Learn What’s Happening and on the Horizon

With the nation slowly emerging from a worldwide pandemic that highlighted the importance of access to clean water and safe sanitation to protecting the public’s health, the Emerging Water Technology Symposium was held virtually for the first time May 11 and 12.

Co-convened by the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), IAPMO, and Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), in cooperation with the World Plumbing Council (WPC), the event provides critical insight into the future of water-related industries.

In welcoming the online attendees to EWTS for the first time as IAPMO CEO, Dave Viola said it has always been one of his favorite industry events.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for inventors, water professionals, manufacturers and the public and private sector to come together to discuss the challenges facing the water industry, and consider solutions that keep our society moving ahead,” he said. “The hallmark of the EWTS has always been the quality of the program; even though it’s condensed this year, it’s no exception.”

ASPE Executive Director/CEO Billy Smith said as one of EWTS’ initial founding associations, the organization maintains its core objectives in advancing the health and safety of the world’s water resources.

“We cannot help but acknowledge how the world and industry has changed so much over the past year due to the pandemic,” he said. “Yet this brings each of us new opportunities to work together in advancing our collective abilities in using discernment as we move toward the future together as an industry to address all the water-related issues.

“Indeed, as an industry we have never been more challenged,” he continued, “and the need for us to demonstrate proper stewardship of our world’s water supplies has never been more profound. Our challenges are many and yet the opportunities presented to us for success are our main focus. We all must work together with one collective goal in mind: to protect public health and safety through the safe and efficient delivery of and the use and reuse of water.”

PMI CEO Kerry Stackpole called it an exciting time to be in the plumbing industry, recalling a recent conversation he had with a manufacturer who pointed out that at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the concern was that the industry would be required to shut down, lay people off, and perhaps shrink its size. Perhaps a month later, he said, they were trying to figure out how to ramp everything up and get products into the market because the demand was so high.

“I think that that’s an important element to consider as you listen and participate in the EWTS program,” he said, “which is simply that what we do matters in a way that is perhaps more consequential for the human existence than most of us might think on a daily basis. When you think about our work, there is no life without water, and our work at the manufacturers level, at the engineering level, at the codes and standards level, is to bring that life-giving product to communities and society at large in a safe and responsible way. And I think that that underlies the power and the excitement, frankly, for me anyway, of EWTS.”

Ron Burke, who recently took over as CEO of the AWE, said the work being done by EWTS participants and attendees is more important than ever.

“Climate change, we believe, is actually contributing to more, more extensive and longer-lasting droughts,” he said. “This is what the scientists are telling us, so it’s never been more important that we advance our technologies to help us do a better job of protecting our water resources.

During the two-day event, speakers addressed such timely and important topics as U.S. water efficiency standards; environmental monitoring assessing risk from waterborne pathogens; water safety in buildings; enabling competition to drive behavioral change; the Water Demand Calculator; and premise plumbing systems. Each day concluded with a panel of industry experts; the first day looked at how to design more resilient plumbing systems, while the second focused on what is next in terms of premise plumbing research and implementation.

Recordings of individual presentations, as well as the entire symposium, are available HERE. The small fee includes continuing education credits and access for six months to the video(s) purchased.

The next EWTS will return to being an in-person event and is scheduled for May 10 and 11, 2022, in San Antonio.

Article by Mike Flenniken first appeared in Official magazine

Last modified: August 30, 2021