With its miles of casinos, over-the-top entertainment and nonstop gratification of all the senses, Las Vegas has long been appreciated as “America’s playground.” However, Las Vegas is also quickly putting itself on the map as an emerging leader in sustainability and technology—making it the ideal location for American Water Works Association’s “ACE18” Annual Conference and Exposition aptly called “innovating the Future of Water”. ACE18, held June 11-14, welcomed around 12,000 water professionals to delve into the impact of innovation on the future of water. For all of us in the water sector it was, pardon the pun, the ‘jackpot’ of innovative solutions and powerful insights focused on solving our global water challenges, as well as enhancing our benefits to the local communities we serve.
I left the conference fully inspired and proud of being a part of this water industry. Perhaps the most profound was the sheer variety of topics explored during the many presentations, panel discussions, workshops and tours. A look at just a sample of sessions led by American Water experts demonstrates what I mean:
- Defining System Failure: American Water Criticality Evaluation Case Studies
- Making Service Pipe Material Identification a Lead Pipe Cinch
- Water Policy for Utility Managers: Affordability and Environmental Justice
- Utilizing GIS-Based Story Maps to Communicate Infrastructure Investments to Customers
- Lessons Learned in Commercial Irrigation Efficiency
If you look at the list of ACE18 opportunities for learning and exchange of ideas, it’s clear that today’s water utility has responsibilities that reach far beyond that of getting clean water to its customers. Moreover, in contrast to most businesses who push for the competitive, water utilities are highly focused on working together as an industry to protect our most precious natural resource in order to continually provide communities with clean water today, and into the future.
Speaking of the future, another personal highlight was speaking at the Water Industry Lunch with the scholarship recipients, students, and researchers. The passion, purpose and pursuit for advancing science and technology in the water industry was demonstrated in those informal discussions. I know the technology and innovation being developed at American Water will provide tools for future generations.
It was an honor and a privilege for American Water to have the presence we did at ACE18, sharing our technological knowledge, insights on innovations and recent experiences in operational efficiency in order to facilitate this type of single focus and effort to protect our water future. It was also equally exciting to absorb the ideas from, interact with our peers, and take what we learned back to American Water, so that we can continue to provide our customers with exceptional service.