The exceptionally high quality of the exhibits and the abundance of innovative proposals presented at the Fair were complemented by an assortment of official ceremonies, conferences and technical workshops, carried out both at SMAGUA, as well as at the 8th Environment Show being held at the same time.
SMAGUA, the leading international water exhibition, held its eighteenth edition last March in Zaragoza, where it upheld its strong position as the leading international exhibition in its field, a position corroborated by the outstanding results obtained at this last event. The true measure of success of the recent SMAGUA event is substantiated by the considerable growth across all its parameters: a record number of exhibitors and space occupied, as well as a higher turnout of professional visitors. To that we can add the high level of technology and innovation in the initiatives presented by exhibiting companies, which have sparked considerable interest among professionals in the sector and have received excellent reviews from the specialized press. The commercial nature of the event turned out to be of equal importance, with four days of non-stop activity that, on this occasion, also brought together over a hundred companies and delegations participating in the now traditional commercial missions organized for SMAGUA. To top it all off, the numerous and well attended technical workshops and product presentations put the finishing touch on what has already been labeled by some media as “the grand water festival” and the forerunner of the upcoming Expo Zaragoza. A new feature introduced for the occasion was the establishment of the SMAGUA Awards for Technological Developments and Applications and the accompanying awards ceremonies. The seventh Environment Show, held along with SMAGUA, also enjoyed the same intense trade fair activity and was attended by a large number of professionals and technical experts, sharing proposals and knowledge within the framework of the 8th National Water and Environment Conference, which dealt with the most up-to-the-minute current issues on water resources and the environment.
SMAGUA 2008 in Numbers
SMAGUA 2008 has achieved outstanding support from the water industry sector, with the participation of 1,725 exhibiting companies and visits from over 35,000 professionals from all parts of the world, surpassing its previous records and exceeding the expectations of organizers. Among the participating companies, who came from a total of 39 different countries, 722 were Spanish and the remaining 1,003 were foreign, thus attesting to the manifest international character of the Show. Of the European firms attending, the largest numbers came from Germany and Italy, with 198 and 186 companies, respectively; 160 U.S. companies also attended, along with 82 from Asian countries, including, among others, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Egypt. In accordance with these figures and with the first comparative statistical data, SMAGUA has experienced a growth of 10% in the number of exhibitors with respect to the previous event held in 2006. As far as occupied space is concerned, this has grown by 22%, reaching 80,000 square meters distributed in nine pavilions, two more pavilions than in the previous show.
It is important to underline that, with these superb results, SMAGUA maintains the same constant growth rate as that experienced in the past few events. In fact, from 2000 to 2008 it has grown 70% in terms of exhibitors and the occupied surface area has nearly tripled.
Innovative Technological Initiatives
The professionals and water technology experts attending SMAGUA 2008 have unanimously made reference to the high quality of the exhibits, evidenced by the large number of technological innovations presented by both Spanish and foreign companies. The new solutions introduced at the Show covered all the different sub-sectors present at the Exhibition, both in the area of water prospecting and collection, as well as piping and transportation, although the most attention was given to purification and recycling equipment. In all, 48 companies presented 63 absolutely innovative technical novelties. Of particular interest, an innovative electronic nose which can detect sustained odors and, consequently, possible gas leaks; in addition to a biological purification system for wastewater employing percolation and vermiculture, using earth worms as a biological filter, which does not generate unstable sludge and is completely ecological. Other ingenious inventions presented at the event included, among others, a system for sanitary hot water pipes to prevent Legionnaire’s Disease and an original remote control system for the integral water cycle.
In order to emphasize the show's singular innovative focus, the specialized publication “Tecnología del Agua y Riegos y Drenajes XXI” (Water, Irrigation and Drainage Technology XXI), in collaboration with the Zaragoza Trade Fair, organized the 1st SMAGUA Award for the Development and Application of Technologies in Water and Irrigation. On March 12th, awards were granted to some of the products presented as technical novelties at the last three SMAGUA events, which have experienced a greater or more significant development and practical application in the market. The novelties were classified according to 5 different categories, with three prizes awarded to each of the categories, for a total of 15 awards. The categories were: Piping and accessories, Valves and pumps, Supply, treatment and drainage, Instrumentation, control and analysis and, lastly, Irrigation. Awards were granted, among others, to the double membrane drinking water diffuser tanks; the ductile feed tube for regenerated water with distinct colors to differentiate the water for the irrigation of parks and gardens from that used for street cleaning, and a complete remote control system via radio for controlling fertigation (the application of fertilizer dissolved in irrigation water) in irrigation communities, parks and gardens, along with many other types of new and highly functional equipment.
Productive Business Encounters
SMAGUA takes care to routinely and conscientiously organize the now traditional Commercial Missions at each biennial event. The objective of these business encounters is to facilitate contacts between import delegations and exhibiting companies, leading to the development of mutually beneficial commercial ties. On this occasion the Fair brought together over a hundred foreign commercial delegations. The Spanish Association of Fluid Handling Equipment Exporters (FLUIDEX) and AMEC (Spanish Multi-sector Commercial Association), with the support of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) and the Zaragoza Trade Fair, organized trips to SMAGUA for commercial delegations from 31 different countries for the three days of the exhibition. The delegations were made up of companies engaged in water supply engineering and the construction of water supply and/or treatment networks, in addition to agents and distributors of equipment for the industry.
In addition, several meetings were arranged between Spanish firms and companies from Germany, Ireland and France, as well as Commercial Missions with delegations from countries including Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Russia, the Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and the United States.
High Level Technical Forum
SMAGUA and the Environment Exhibition have once again served as the setting for hosting a variety of acts, conferences and noteworthy high-level technical seminars, with the attendance of experts from all fields of comprehensive water management, paying tribute to the excellent performance of the water technology industry at this moment. Within the context of the Environmental Congress, the seminar on “Agriculture for Expo 2008, Water and Renewable Energy” was of particular interest, dealing with issues involving government policies and legislation for sustainable agriculture, water use and the application of agri-environmental measures to favor a better management of water resources. The second part of the seminar also analyzed the 7th Framework Program for R&D, renewable energy sources, agriculture and energy crops, in addition to other issues.
A series of technical seminars were also held on topics including wastewater systems for buildings, energy savings in the transportation of fluids and new treatment systems, among others. Similarly, several technical workshops were offered focusing on water treatment, the different control systems and examples of next generation facilities. The technical workshop presided by RBI, dedicated to the reuse of purified sewage water, explored Royal Decree 1620/2007 of 7 December in greater depth, along with other issues. This law establishes parameters for water quality and regulates reuse costs, obligations and usage requirements for resources.
Looking towards the Future
The magnificent results of the last SMAGUA conference, in addition to the excellent response and strong support offered by the sector, substantiate the upward trajectory the exhibition has taken ever since its conception, confirming it as a world-wide point of reference for the water industry. SMAGUA 2008 wrapped up with a look ahead, towards a future full of promise for a sector that is already generating a strong demand for technology and that continues to reveal an even greater potential at each new show.
Constant innovation is the key to development in a sector that is already able to maintain double digit growth figures and whose consolidation has occurred simultaneously with that of SMAGUA. For this reason, it is safe to assume that the results of this event will certainly be repeated two years from now, with all the exhibitors coming back to what is now the most important international showcase for water resources, both on a technical as well as on a commercial level.