The Water Convention 2018 Hot Issues Workshops will take place on Sunday, 8 July 2018 when emerging topics such as potable reuse, social resilience in the face of extreme events and networks of the future will be featured. These workshops will run on a highly interactive, panel discussion-based format, providing a focused platform to stimulate more open engagement between experts and delegates on ‘hot’ or emerging issues facing the water industry today. This will serve as the perfect opening to the technical sessions on 10 – 11 July 2018.



The details of the workshops are as follows:


8 July 20178


0900 – 1200hrs

Workshop 1a
Year 2030 – Intelligent Water Networks
Workshop 2
Pre-treatment for Anaerobic Digestion, Which Technology?
Workshop 3a
Strengthening Delivery of WaSH to Urban Informal Settlements in the Asia Pacific
Workshop 4
Emerging Contaminants – Real Concern or #FakeNews?

1400 – 1730hrs

Workshop 1b
Creating a Mindset Shift from a Radical Idea to a Sustainable One Whose Time Has Come
Workshop 1b
Creating a Mindset Shift from a Radical Idea to a Sustainable One Whose Time Has Come
Workshop 3b
Coping with Extreme Events - Getting Real about the Inevitable



Workshop 1a: Year 2030 – Intelligent Water Networks

The drinking water supply pipeline or network represents one of the highest investment components for most utilities, and a challenging one to maintain effectively and efficiently to ensure safe and reliable supply for its customers. However, thanks to the advent of remote sensors, Big Data and the Internet of things (IoT), utilities now have the means by which to receive real-time information on their networks and react quickly to reduce service disruption. Beyond reducing reaction time and improving service delivery, utilities are also now looking toward systems that allow for pipeline condition assessment and predictive maintenance. This may not only lead to greater reductions in service disruption, but also enable better planning and more efficient deployment of operational resources.

This workshop aims to paint a visionary dream of the future intelligent water network and at the same time, explore the possibility of leveraging on disruptive technologies/innovations and on the experience of other industries such as the power industry, to bring the vision closer to reality.

Workshop 1b: Creating a Mindset Shift from a Radical Idea to a Sustainable One Whose Time Has Come

The worldwide pressures of rapid urbanisation and increased variability in climatic conditions are creating a spectrum of peak water issues, from water scarcity and shortages, to near-catastrophic failures of surface water and ground water supplies. Global awareness of these challenges is growing, as the need for new ways to secure adequate and reliable water to meet societal needs becomes more evident. Advancements in science, technology and operational capacity have made potable reuse a viable and pivotal water supply diversification solution.

The widespread adoption of potable reuse requires not only the technical strengths of the water utility, but also the trust of the public. Utilities using the findings of social science research can contribute to a firm foundation of public trust by helping to create cohesive and meaningful narratives that transform perspectives, enabling people to really understand the value and purpose of recycled water in their daily lives.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together experts from the water reuse field to integrate the current innovations and understanding of potable reuse and to gain consensus on the next steps to be taken for the world to move closer towards wider-scale implementation of potable reuse. The first part of this workshop will review the scientific and technological achievements, as well as explore the needs for future optimisation or innovations while the second part of the workshop will explore how social research will create the pathway to communicate the importance of potable reuse to meet our collective water needs.

Workshop 2: Pre-treatment for Anaerobic Digestion, Which Technology?

Wastewater sludge is a good renewable energy source and its potential is commonly tapped through anaerobic digestion to convert the organics into biogas. However, although anaerobic digestion is a proven process, various factors can dampen its adoption, particularly the control and characteristics of the waste used which would affect its efficiency. Pre-treatment of the sludge hence is a particularly important step to ensure the digestion process is optimised and stabilised.

This workshop will present case studies and experiences from both utilities and the technology providers on both traditional and emerging pre-treatment solutions for enhancing anaerobic digestion, and provide the opportunity for all to discuss their efficiency, sustainability and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs.

Workshop 3a: Strengthening Delivery of WaSH to Urban Informal Settlements in the Asia Pacific

This workshop will bring together leading WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) experts and institutions, local and central government partners, and international development agencies to critically examine modes of WaSH in informal settlement upgrading in developing countries, as well as examine the opportunities and challenges of a water sensitive cities approach to upgrading. In particular, the workshop will discuss the importance of implementing WaSH at the relevant scale to enable timely delivery of these services to the communities.

Moreover, the workshop will review the progress of the ambitious five-year Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE) program currently being implemented in Fiji and Indonesia. The RISE theory of change is that the Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) approach can interrupt the fecal-oral transmission route, resulting in an improvement in human gastrointestinal health, especially for children under 5 years of age. It is anticipated that the evidence-based and proof of concept of the WSC approach provided by the RISE program will provide a strong basis for strengthening the efficacy of WaSH in informal urban environments.

The workshop will also include a hands-on exercise on current WaSH approaches in informal settlements in developing countries and discuss the opportunities to advance WaSH by approaching upgrading from a water-sensitive cities lens.

Workshop 3b: Coping with Extreme Events - Getting Real about the Inevitable

In recent years, many countries have faced extreme weather events and it is expected that these events will become more frequent and intense in the future. Additionally, extreme events show that water availability is crucial for minimising the social impact of such events and for the recovery process. Thus, there is increasing concern about the risk and vulnerability water utilities face in preparing for and adapting to the growing number and intensity of extreme weather events.

This workshop will feature case studies of utilities’ preparation and response to extreme events. Through the sharing of experience and lessons learnt, the workshop participants will have the opportunity to discuss on the preparedness, emergency response and long-term resilience necessary to mitigate and adapt to the potential impact of these events.

Workshop 4: Emerging Contaminants – Real Concern or #FakeNews?

Emerging contaminants in source water are of increasing public health concern due to their potential adverse impacts on human and animal health, and on the environment and its health determinants. Such impacts may occur after long-term exposure to low doses, making attribution challenging. Contamination pathways include the discharge from wastewater treatment plants, untreated domestic and industrial wastewater, poorly managed animal waste and agricultural runoff. They include pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), new generation pesticides and their residues, and new chemical compounds used in industrial processes. Hospitals, health care centres, and the pharmaceutical industry may be hotspots for waters polluted with emerging contaminants, whose impacts on human health may include endocrine disruption, toxicity and possibly carcinogenicity. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics and their release into the aquatic environment has been shown to accelerate the development of antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious threat to global public health. Microbial contaminants are not emerging per se, but outside pressures (intensified animal husbandry, changing weather patterns and aging infrastructure) create emerging pathways of contamination.

As the emphasis on water reuse increases, the quality of the wastewater, even if partially treated, also becomes increasingly important in its own right. However, the potential toxicological effects of emerging contaminants on the ecosystem and human health are yet to be fully understood and present datasets are unable to adequately address the hazards and risks to human health. Furthermore, media coverage of the issue often creates a blur between scientific evidence and public perception. Public health officials need to make decisions on how to address public concerns without causing panic or being accused of spreading fake news.

This workshop aims to bring together experts to identify current issues, risks and to contribute to the creation of a framework to correctly assess the impact of emerging contaminants on human health and the environment.