Wallingford, UK 20 September 2005 170 delegates from 17 countries attended Wallingford Softwares 2005 International User Conference at Howbery Park, Wallingford, UK, on 14-15 September. Comprising of three streams covering sewer and urban drainage, water supply and distribution and river system and flood forecasting, delegates enjoyed a packed program that included 31 user case studies from Jamaica, USA, Mexico and Australia as well as from numerous countries across Europe.
Addressing the conference opening plenary session, Paul Banfield, Wallingford Softwares Sales Director, spoke of the multiple challenges facing water engineers in the 21st century:
Throughout the world, water engineers are operating within rigorous regulatory frameworks such as CMOM in the United States for the sewer industry and the much broader, but as yet not fully defined, Water Framework Directive in the EU. Additionally, although the precise nature of climate change continues to be debated within the industry, the challenges posed by an increasing number of extreme weather events is very real, from hurricanes to permanent water shortages. These are opening up new avenues for engineers and the speed with which hydraulic engineers are being called upon to resolve water crises brought about by natural disasters. Add to this the increased security issues and the conflicts that arise between water users . The role of the water engineer is fast developing as hydraulic modeling is confirmed as an operational discipline as well as an infrastructure planning tool. World events, whether natural or man-made is heightening the profile of the role of the water engineer and Wallingford Software is excited to rise to the challenge.
The International User Conference is structured into three streams covering sewer and urban drainage, water supply and distribution and river system and flood forecasting. With a clear emphasis on the practical application of hydraulic modeling software, user presentations make up the majority of the content interspersed with product update and teach-in sessions led by Wallingford Softwares leading engineers. User presentations were diverse and included:
- Study of Latvias
- Pump station
project from Berlin
- Modeling in
the aftermath of Hurricane Dennis in Jamaica and Boscastle in the UK
- Analysis of
the Selangor flood plain in Malaysia
- Modeling of
the Yser Basin in Belgium
Certain themes emerged from the conference that reflect current priorities within the industry, believes Paul Banfield. The demand for integrated modeling flowed throughout the event. News of Wallingford Softwares involvement in and commitment to the OpenMI project was extremely well received. The ability to exchange data in real time between software products from different vendors will have a major and positive impact on the industry. Another theme was the operational effectiveness of hydraulic modeling even in very difficult situations. Maurice Jones illustrated how InfoWorks WS was used to resolve water supply issues in just four days following Hurricane Dennis in Jamaica. A third theme and there were many more was the ability of hydraulic modeling to work on a variety of scales from, for example, the tiny River Lavant in Sussex in the UK, which is dry for eight months of the year, to the huge 50km Grijalva river and dam study in Mexico.
Representatives of many of the worlds leading engineering consultancies and utilities attended the International User Conference including Aminal (Belgium), Atkins Global, Aquafin, Black and Veatch, City of Cocoa (USA) City of Utrecht (The Netherlands) CNA (Mexico), Earth Tech (Australia), Ewan, Hyder, MWH, Severn Trent, Thames Water, United Utilities and Veolia Water. Non-UK attendees came from Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Serbia, Spain, and USA.
Feedback was universally positive from what many commented as the companys most successful conference ever:
Kristian Ravnkilde of Atkins described the conference as excellent as ever, David Acres of Hydroco commented on the good variety of presentations, nice to have a good mix of internal, external and overseas people. John Higginbottom of Faber Maunsell declared it a very good conference, very useful to meet others and discuss issues. Entec UKs Alistair Dalton was very satisfied: excellent all presentations well presented and useful! Specifically like the small talks by WSL staff on tips & tricks using InfoWorks.