British Water: Off-mains Sewerage
In March I attended a workshop offered by British Water to address the options and challenges for off-mains sewerage in the UK. There were informative talks and some lively discussions from many stakeholders in the off-main sewerage world. The Environment Agency gave an overview of legislation regarding wastewater discharge in rural communities and approaches to tackling catchment pollution. Treatment consultants made the case for the good design and installation of septic as well as the need for package treatment plants. Finally, a representative for the National Trust spoke to us of the challenges and great responsibilities that come with managing the sewage of our beautiful, historic properties. The quote of the day came from one speaker who made the enlightened assessment that
‘mankind has come so far with technology over the years but still we are content to flush our toilets into a leaky trench’.
All in all, it was a very educational day in which a wide variation of off-mains stakeholders gathered in one room to work towards a common goal – the safe disposal of our sewage.
European Water Innovation Lab (WIL)
In April I attended the European Water Innovation Lab (WIL) on the coast of the Netherlands. This inspirational workshop brought together 40 young professionals from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. We were trained to think holistically, design innovatively, and communicate effectively across cultures – in the hope of developing future water leaders. By uniting young researchers, innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs, WIL creates a platform to build new relationships, accelerate knowledge sharing, build transferable leadership skills, and co-develop potential solutions to water challenges across the globe. This was a really rewarding week where I was empowered to share my ideas and gain both technical and stimulating insights from others in a creative atmosphere. I met some hugely interesting people doing great work in the water sector and this really opened my eyes to the possibilities that are available in my future career. The innovation and drive that I saw this week has made me confident and excited to continue building my interesting network of global water colleagues. I left WIL feeling inspired and motivated to continue my PhD research and I’m very excited for my future career in water.