Virtual Summit Review

260 senior water-tech leaders joined us for two days of live interactive discussions, small-group roundtable discussions and 1-1 networking, connecting all players across the water-tech supply chain.

Check out our summit highlights below. The summit is still live until November 22, so you can follow up with new connections, reach out to anyone you missed via the 1-1 video meeting system, and watch the content on demand whenever it suits you.


Who Joined Us?


“From my vantage point of view, I validated a few points on our approach to digitalization but also learned differing points of view that helped me open the aperture of my view of the industry.” VP, Digital Solutions, XYLEM 

“World Water-Tech North America is a high-quality event with outstanding programming and sessions filled with the people making it happen in water.” Partner, TRUE NORTH VENTURE PARTNERS

“Water is such a common resource, but it is managed is so many different ways. Opportunities like World Water-Tech North America really bring to light the amazing global solutions that companies are bringing the to industry to solve common problems.” CEO and Co-Founder, VAPAR

“The World Water-Tech North America conference served was a great forum which brought together thoughtleaders and innovators from the water sector.  Great to see the interest in pushing forward with more advanced digital solutions that would facilitate data management, process optimization and reporting capabilities.” President, HACH

“World Water Tech North America was great. Their platform was as good as it gets for virtual events. Our start-up presented at the conference and we ended up getting a lot of valuable feedback from investors and other companies. We made some contacts that will be useful for the months ahead.” CEO, REMORA ROBOTICS

“Rheticus Network Alert was glad to join World Water-Tech North America together with our partner 10Mile Solution. We had the great chance to show our technology of predictive maintenance to the American market and through the roundtable we hosted, we saw how the satellite monitoring topic sparked the interest among American managers and innovators.” Business Development Manager, RHETICUS NETWORK ALERT

“This event is notable for several things: geographic diversity; the variety of initiatives to solve specific problems discussed; and the opportunity to connect with individuals through  the one-on-one meeting process rather than trying to buttonhole people in a crowd. I will definitely be attending all these events.” NANOTECH

Opening Keynote

Modernizing Water and Power Delivery in the Western United States

“We had to be prepared for the unknown. The water community across the United States has been ready and we have managed through this incredibly difficult year. To my knowledge I don’t know of one place where water supply has been cut short because of the pandemic. We have faced and lived up to the challenges of 2020.”


CEO Forum

Challenges, Opportunities and Change

“The ability to adapt and still maintain the level of service is amazing. In terms of investment, Covid-19 has accelerated our implementation and upgrades to automated control. We have a really robust asset management program, we try to maintain the same level of service whether it is a large or small system. Covid-19 hasn’t changed our prioritization that is risk-based,  I have seen changes in understanding how to communicate, the resiliency of the workforce but the needs of our system haven’t changed too much.”

Colleen Arnold, President, AQUA (ESSENTIAL UTILITIES)

“Although a rapid response was been born out of our experience with earthquakes, the Covid pandemic required a different type of crisis response. People on the front line tend to be IT and human resources coming up with new ways to manage how we do things as opposed to how we operate our physical facilities.

We have been nimble, quick and able to adapt and adjust.

The story of this crisis has been how to adapt and keep the response sustainable. This is not a sprint like a typical emergency when something breaks. This is months, maybe years. It is about how we can be sustainable over a long term in a crisis and how we can do this to continue to survive and thrive in this new environment. Technology has been amazing, as is the adaptability of the workforce. I am pleasantly surprised at how we are managing.”


“Customers are becoming a lot more demanding and open in wanting to maximize the value of the solutions and instrumentation we provide to them.

We need to be able to scale beyond a physical onsite presence that typically customers associate with supplier services. Our services need to evolve to virtual introductions, more remote monitoring and maintenance guidance for the operators of facilities. We need to provide scalable training packages. We are seeing the need for more cross training, now having less operators there is a growing need to cross train the operators.”

Hermes González-Bello, PresidentHACH

“We need to continue with replacement, invest in communities we haven’t invested in such as infrastructure, flood prone areas, inequitable service and we need to manage our regulatory responses.”

Mami Hara, General Manager, SEATTLE PUBLIC UTILITIES


Developing New Operating Policies Through Digital Twinning

“A huge part of the project was that we didn’t know what the end project would look like, so we were identifying and solving problems as we went along.”


Bridging IT with OT

“The collaboration is important, we collaborated very closely with Tarrant Regional Water District and we developed the concept for linking all their tools that are used in the decision making process to set up their system. Through the collaboration with Tarrant Regional Water District, we decided the best path forward to take the solutions, those results coming from the digital twin, and implement them to the physical asset to figure out how it is going to work and yield result.”

Key Learnings

“Our key learning was to bring the team in that need to be involved so that you can implement this digital twin and realize all those different hurdles and challenges that may arise as you are going through. We developed the concept and made sure we had the idea and thought behind it  before bringing the team into the loop but maybe it could have been just a little bit sooner and could have maybe eliminated some of the headaches.”

Garrett OwensGlobal Technology Leader for Digital TwinsJACOBS

Making Cities More Liveable

The Need for Digital Transformation

“ADB’s 2030 vision is to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.”

Manoj Sharma, Chief, Urban Sector Group, ADB

Smart Water Grids

Winning the Non-Revenue Water Challenge

“It’s an incredibly exciting time in the water industry, there are so many more options for utilities to address problems than ever before with the application of technology”

Ian MacLeod, Vice President of Marketing, MASTER METER 

“There are number of IoT devices coming into the market and bringing real-time insights into the environment and operations. We have been at the forefront and specialise in the platform capabilities.”

Miriam Berhane Russom, Senior Program Manager – Azure IoTMICROSOFT

“We have seen substantial results by bringing in an AMI system for a small water utility system. AMI technology has driven the growth and infrastructure in the ground and isn’t increasing our water loss. Any investment in our system is an investment with our customer. Water quality and infrastructure should be your number one focus and it’s critical.”

Amanda McKinley SelphBusiness ManagerBELFOREST WATER SYSTEM

“The pain varies depending on the regional part of the country you are in. The bigger problem for us is the metering challenge and this is where revenue opportunities are substantial and investments are relatively low. We need to use technology to drive the analytics or fix the bad meters.”

Thomas Kuczynski, CIO, DC WATER

Rethinking Energy Consumption

Driving Efficiency in Wastewater Treatment

“We have all come away from this panel with new energy and new ideas that we can bring back to our organizations. I hope this will help you to reimagine our wastewater treatment plants as resource recovery.”

Sue Guswa, Senior Principal & Practice Leader – Municipal WastewaterWOODARD & CURRAN


“The strong environmental protection ethic that exists in our utility is the foundation for us to take the next steps with energy, innovation and sustainability. We are expanding our role, we are wastewater recovery facilities and it is starting to take a hold. We are pushing the aging infrastructure, we have goals of 100% utilization of our biogas and at the same time we are maximising energy production. We are at the centre of the circular economy for sustainability.”

Pam Elardo, Deputy Commissioner – Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, NYC DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

“One of the things we have learned is that the discussion of data collection and digital twins for water, it has lead some to believe that there is an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all approach, and that is just not true. A lot of it has to do with the individual utility and the people within the utility. It’s a question on what’s the culture within the utility, and what are the things they already know about that could be enhanced by better data collection and analytics.”

Colby Manwaring, CEOINNOVYZE

“It’s important we talk the same language – invest in sustainable solutions that have the long lasting impact on our society, circular economy is a sustainable way to make an impact on our society.”

Arvind Akela, Engineering DirectorSILICON VALLEY CLEAN WATER

“It is easy to get overwhelmed with large amounts of data. We need to keep things simple first, employees have to understand what the data means to trust it and then use it.”

Gilbert Trejo, CTO, EL PASO WATER

Investing in Essential Workers

The Future of Water and Wastewater Services

“We must continue investing in modern water infrastructure, according to the EPA’s most recent surveys the US must invest $472 billion to maintain and improve our drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years.”

Andrew WheelerAdministratorEPA

Circular Water Economy

The Importance of Governance in Creating a Circular Water Economy


Oriana RomanoHead of Unit, Water Governance and Circular EconomyOECD

“By 2050 40% of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed river basins and water demand will increase by 50%.

Cities will have lots of consequences in terms of how to use resources  how to make them more efficient and available to different users so the circular economy itself is a concept aimed at designing out waste and pollution to create a regenerative economy, and water is definitely a part of this discourse not only in terms of water reuse but also to improve and innovate wastewater treatment services.”

One Water Resilience

Prepare, Respond and Recover

“What we have seen in 2020 with the pandemic and so many other events on top of that, in our industry, we can’t stop and we can’t fail because people depend on us. For us, resiliency means we almost need to be invincible – which is a really tall order. It requires innovation, collaboration, equity and connectivity. We are all in this together.”


“One water is the utility of the future when you think broadly on how water, storm water, wastewater and flood protection systems are all integrated together particularly when it relates to the financing and the affordability of what we do  on the local level. As we move forward, we are going to have to focus on the priorities that our community can address within a one water framework so that we make sure we are doing the best and making the best decisions for our rate base.”


“Partnership is a key point, a real tool we can use here in the US to improve the different opportunities – Aqualia has many successful cases around the world and we are looking forward to doing the same in the US.”

Eva Arnaiz, Country Manager USAAQUALIA

“To bring innovation forward it has to be risk sharing, it can’t be one side or the other. We have to decide how we are going to finance innovation together.

One of the challenges we have is that we are stewards of human health and the environment, which puts a tremendous amount of responsibility and accountability to make sure that financially we are making good decisions in what we invest into the communities, provide our water supplies and manage our water resources.

We don’t currently have a good system that allows us, and incentivizes everyone to drive innovation to the level we want.”

Cindy Wallis-Lage, President – Global Water BusinessBLACK AND VEATCH

The WASH Response

The WASH Response to COVID-19 in Emerging Markets

“The global pandemic has exacerbated the existing water crisis. WASH is essential PPE everywhere, but especially in emerging markets where access to basic services is lagging and the health sector is less developed. The water sector has a critical role to play in Building Back Better.”

Jennifer Sara, Global Director – Water Global Practice, WORLD BANK

The Future of Produced Water Management

The Future of Produced Water Management

Kenneth Wagner, Secretary of Energy & EnvironmentSTATE OF OKLAHOMA

“Oklahoma has been forced to commit to significant long-term planning. In 2012, Oklahoma published its groundbreaking report called ‘Water for 2060’, in which the goal is to use no more fresh water in 2060 than it did in the year 2010.

We want our state to lead the way in the future of produced water management. Our goal in Oklahoma is to create a responsible water policy that ensures our water quality is protected both aesthetically and from a public health perspective, that we value and protect all beneficial users, including consumptive and non consumptive, that our water use is sustainable, and our public policy supports these long-term goals.”

Industrial Forum

Investing in Efficiency, Resiliency and Sustainability

“As a leading global brewer, access to good quality water on a reliable basis is essential if we want to continue to brew good quality beer. Water use efficiency is very important across our operations, particularly in high risk areas and we continue to invest in driving down water use using new technology and water reuse, so that we can use treated water for auxiliary functions within the brewery.

Watershed security is absolutely essential, how do we invest to make sure water will be available in the long term in the areas in which we operate, so investing in watershed protection, projects with WWF, reforestation and ecosystem restoration projects, etc.”

Andre Fourie, Global Director Water SustainabilityAB INBEV

“Our representatives on the panel have shown that if you set a goal you can clearly drive innovation.

But I think we need to make innovation business models, partnerships  and innovation in public policy into a corporate water strategy as opposed to it being more ad-hoc and more an outcome of driving a lower water footprint or addressing water quality.

I look for signs in the market as an indication of where things are going to go. Over the past few months companies are talking about accelerator programs and making direct investments in these companies.

Corporate venture funds and their power in driving innovation very broadly is absolutely a trend we are seeing and I expect to continue as we all recognize water scarcity, poor water, poor governance is impacting economic development  business growth, social wellbeing”

Will Sarni, FounderWATER FOUNDRY

“What we have seen, the S component of ESG has risen in prominence – investors look at the ESG as a mainstream investment and we have seen ESG strategies grow, more so than strategies that are not ESG.

We have also seen a broader conversation opening up over supply chains and their vulnerability coming into the conversation, from the point of view of climate change and water and water-related stress.

As investors, we are looking for the long term sustainable balance between cities, companies and agriculture in a situation where the patterns of water availability are shifting.”

Andre Bertolotti, Head of Global Sustainable Research and Data, BLACKROCK

Agricultural Water Stewardship

Dynamic Watershed Management

Shelley Ostrowski, Deputy General Manager – External Affairs, WESTLANDS WATER DISTRICT

“The district needs to be agile enough to adapt to climate change and uncertain water supplies. It is likely that the change in climate will once again alter the crops grown in the district, we are already seeing micro-climates emerge in the district.

Because of all the water uncertainty the district is committed to ensuring that our growers continue to practise the most efficient and effective water management practises. The district offers growers low interest loans so they continue to use and purchase new irrigation conservation equipment, so we continue to use the best technology in the district and are able to update the equipment whenever needed.”

Change Management

Facilitating Digital Transformation

“Covid19 has accelerated the rate of adoption, not just return on investment but now we are talking about resiliency of operations so we are seeing a fast uptake of adoption.”

Luis Montestruque, Vice President of Digital Solutions, XYLEM

“We have seen an exponential curve in the adoption – we have a CTO now in every business line and at the top of our organization, so it has become a key element across the whole company. ”

Beverley Stinson, Executive Vice President, Water Business Line, AECOM

“During the pandemic what many of our customers found out, is that what we are trying to provide through our smart metering AMI system is access to your information in real time, on demand from everywhere. Every utility is trying to provide perfect customer service, they want their end users to be happy. A lot of customers found out during the summit that if they can provide perfect customer service from home, that is a huge benefit.”

Kenneth BockhorstPresident and CEOBADGER METER

“Change Management is about looking at the impact of change in people, process and technology and formulating a strategy to get the buy-in and acceptance from those most impacted. I see it as communicating and gaining understanding from everyone on the value of the transformation, understanding the “resistance to change” and formulating strategies to get their support and finally the training and executive communication.”

Michael Salas, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, SUEZ NORTH AMERICA

AI, Machine Learning & GIS

A Powerful Combination for Prioritizing Water Main Replacement

“The algorithms themselves figure out patterns in the data. The algorithms create new rules for the system automatically. As more data gets added into the system the results improve for everyone on the network.”

Michael Weisbaum, Head of Marketing, FRACTA

The New Gold Rush

Capitalizing on Opportunities in Wastewater Reuse

“This is about collaboration between municipalities, industrial users and consumers. You need the investments to form their investments but there is an increasing demand for the right use of water quality. There is always going to be a point of treatment – where is the best place to apply treatment technology?”

Snehal Desai, Executive VP & Chief Growth Officer, EVOQUA

“We will tilt the city of LA water and it will run 1200 feet to push water uphill to the plant. You can serve 70% of the city with high purified and recycled water.”

Richard Harasick, Senior Assistant General Manager of Water Systems, LADWP

“There is an increase of automation in wastewater plants and they are becoming more sophisticated. In the last two years we have increased the demand for more complex products.”

Marco Achilea, Water Business LeadABB ENERGY INDUSTRIES

Industrial Reuse

Case Study: Industrial Reuse in Action

“Data is an important piece of our strategic planning. BASF’s internal water and wastewater data is collected annually and tracked through the full lifecycle of our water streams. Sustainability teams use this substantial data along with public and private resources to research our treatment technologies to provide more efficient flow management, to evaluate internal reuse, recycle and reduction initiatives, to track external sourcing and to predict impact of our water use on our community-related projects and initiatives.”

Adrienne Lee, North America Environmental Expert, BASF

Water Quality

Protecting Public Health

“The good news with something like PFAS is that there are fairly cost-effective technology solutions out there. Just in a couple of months we have been able to design several treatment plants for our client that should be operating this time next year.”

Brian Jordan, Vice President, TETRA TECH 

“Approaching our rate-making with consideration of our lowest income customers is a huge priority for us as an organization.

With regards to replacing lead lines, while we have an overall goal of getting all them all out of the system, using census income and demographic data we mapped the communities that we were most concerned about, so they could be prioritized.

This is how we are looking at our programs through an equity lens.”

Will Pickering, Executive Director, PITTSBURGH WATER AND SEWER AUTHORITY

“The easiest way to take out forever contaminants out of our supply is to keep it from getting in in the first place, so having robust programs in place to sample and manage discharge into the system would be our best bet. We of course don’t know what the contaminants are going to be at this point in time.”

Holly Rosenthal, Assistant Director, Water Services, CITY OF PHOENIX

Technology Showcase

Eight ambitious water innovators showcased their gamechanging solutions and technology

Julie Mullen, Co-Founder and CEO, ACLARITY WATER

Nikolas Franceschi-Hofmann, CEO, AQUALUMOS

Waldo Moraga, CEO, ECO2MIX

Suhayl Zulfiquar, COO, DATATECNICS

Amanda Siqueira, CEO & Co-Founder, VAPAR

Zachary Wadzinski, CEO, REMORA ROBOTICS


Kelvin Okamoto, CEO, GEN3BIO

Andrew Talkes, Director, SMARTVALVE

Poll Results

Join us Next Time

Join us this February 23-24, 2021 at the World Water-Tech Innovation Summit.