From 16 to 20 September, the International Water Association organised the World Water Congress and Exhibition in Tokyo. The title of the conference was “Shaping Our Water Future". This exciting congress brings together all global experts and stakeholders from the water sector. In Tokyo almost 9,815 delegates, 252 global exhibiters and 98 nationalities were present at the conference. There were 462 presentations and 633 posters, all a bit overwhelming, but with the use of the conference app on your phone or tablet, it was easy to keep control and create your own programme.
Jan Hofman visited the conference for three days and attended the track on Urban Water Management, and some lectures on organic micropollutants in water. But the main reason for travelling to Tokyo was a contribution to a panel discussion in a workshop on Circular Economy organised by the NextGen team. At this session the new NextGen project was introduced. After some introductory lectures, a panel discussion with the audience on how circular economy can successfully be introduced in the water cycle. The discussions focussed on how to connect cycles for water, energy and materials from water treatment and how to create viable value chains. Creating circular economy concepts is not only a matter of technology, but it needs the right incentives from regulations, should be economically attractive, and should be accepted by stakeholders and end-users. The NextGen project will address all these aspects by engaging with the right stakeholders and demonstrate the benefits from circular economy in full scale.
The World Water Congress was also important for the Watershare network. WIRC is a member this global network, now consisting of 21 members. Watershare was present at the Exhibition with a stand, which attracted many people (also because of the world famous good coffee served…). The Watershare members discussed progress and future research options at a breakfast meeting. Watch a video of Watershare's accomplishments at the conference.
Finally, local culture could not be missed at such a conference. One evening there was a cultural event, hosted by the Governor of Tokyo, in a beautiful Japanese garden. Unfortunately, the evening was spoiled a bit by tropical rain, but in the end, it dried up and we could enjoy a karate demonstration and a Japanese tea ceremony.