American Water Works Association (AWWA)

An estimated 11,000 water professionals gather in Philadelphia to make a `better world through better water`


PHILADELPHIA -- The 136th American Water Works Association Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE17) began today, bringing an estimated 11,000 water professionals to Philadelphia to confront the many challenges facing the water sector.

During a packed opening general session at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, AWWA President Jeanne Bennett-Bailey acknowledged the water utility professionals, technology providers and others who assure safe and reliable water and wastewater services in North America and beyond.

“Every day, you make it possible for everyone else in your community to go about their day without a single thought about their most basic need – water,” Bennett-Bailey said. “Sometimes you go back in the middle of the night and do some more…Thank you for your service, your dedication, your commitment. Thank you for going to work every single day and making this a better world through better water.”

The opening session was highlighted by a “Morning Show” panel discussion among prominent water utility leaders, including Carla Reid, CEO and general manager of Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in Maryland; Sue McCormick, CEO of Great Lakes Water Authority in Michigan; and Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager at Des Moines Water Works in Iowa. Hosted by AWWA CEO David LaFrance, the conversation centered on leadership and examined water sector issues such as cybersecurity, source water protection, regional partnerships, communications and maintaining a robust water workforce.

The conference, June 11-14, features more than 420 technical sessions in 14 professional development tracks. An exposition floor includes more than 550 technology providers in 1,100 booths.

Tuesday’s highlights include the “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test at 3:30 p.m. in the exhibit hall, Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken speaking at the noon Water Industry Luncheon, and an 8:30 a.m. Public Officials Breakfast & Caucus featuring Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra McCarty and former EPA water program leader Joel Beauvais.

Among Wednesday’s highlights is a session at 11:15 a.m. in Room 103 B/C titled “Life on the Inside of the Flint Water Utility,” which will feature insights from water sector leaders working to assure safe and sustainable water for the people of Flint.

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