From the Field: Reporting from Conventions Coast-to-Coast

As a professional in the water industry, attending trade shows and conferences is an excellent way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. Over the past few months, Safe-T-Cover has attended several of the most significant water-related events in the US: the WASDA Annual Convention in Tucson, AZ, the New Jersey AWWA Conference in Atlantic City, the Texas Water Show in Houston, and the ABPA show in Las Vegas.

WASDA Annual Meeting logo

WASDA Annual Convention

The Water and Sewer Distributors of America meet every spring for their Annual Convention.Hiking during the Bernie M. Pipan Charity 5K in Tuscon, Arizona - Provided by the author This gathering of waterworks distributors and manufacturers is an excellent opportunity for networking, team building and sharing best practices. The primary goal is education and market analysis as the event is centered around guest speakers and training sessions. 

The highlights from the WASDA sessions were the discussion of the value of water in the future (Liquid Gold), the economic outlook for the next few years (mixed), and how to access funds from the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). We also started planning our first Washington, DC summit in July, where we will go to Capitol Hill and educate our representatives on proper water management and protection.

New Jersey AWWA logo

New Jersey AWWA Conference

The New Jersey American Water Works Association Conference is an annual event that brings together professionals from every layer of the water industry, including water utilities, government agencies, consulting firms, distributors and manufacturers. The show features exhibits from hundreds of vendors showcasing the latest technologies and services in water treatment, distribution and utility management. 

In addition to the exhibits, the NJ AWWA show also offers a comprehensive educational program featuring workshops, seminars and presentations. Topics covered included water quality, regulatory compliance, asset management and sustainability. This year’s agenda was heavily weighted with PFOS and PFOA treatment, as New Jersey is the first state in the US to have an established PFOS monitoring level. The EPA has recently released a proposed national standard, but New Jersey is ahead of the curve on treating and monitoring their water for PFOS contamination.

Texas Water 2023 logo

Texas Water Show

The Texas Water Show is one of the largest water-related events in the United States, attracting thousands of attendees from across the country. The show features an exhibit hall full of vendors showcasing their newest products and services for the water industry. The extensive educational program was highlighted by sessions on water conservation, EPA updates, freeze protection (two major freeze events in the last three years), and the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) that will affect every infrastructure job in the next few years.

Attending the Texas Water Show is beneficial for everyone because Texas has a broad range of water scenarios. From substantial rural areas, to major urban centers, multiple climates and terrains, and also the fastest growing metropolitan region in America in Austin. The infrastructure demands of these diverse systems gives an excellent overview of how to protect and manage water in virtually any environment.

ABPA Conference logo

ABPA Convention

The American Backflow Prevention Association Convention is an annual event that brings together professionals from the backflow prevention industry, including manufacturers, distributors and service providers. The show features exhibits from dozens of vendors featuring the latest in backflow prevention products and services. The ABPA Convention also offers training and educational sessions that can contribute to CEU requirements of being a backflow professional. 

This year’s convention in Las Vegas saw the return of the Tester Workshop, which had been dropped in recent years due to the pandemic and concerns with social distancing. The Tester Workshop is specifically designed for the testing community and highlights safety precautions, procedures and repair techniques.

Highlights from the show were emerging technologies in valve monitoring, testing and maintenance software, and reiterating the dangers of confined space entry. Every vault is an OSHA-defined confined space and requires a permit for entry. The safest and most cost-effective installation of a backflow preventer is above ground in an ASSE 1060-certified enclosure.

For those of us who travel for a living, 2023 has been a return to normalcy. Travel schedules for trade shows, presentations and customer visits are back in full swing. It has been great to get back out there in full force and I hope to see you in the near future. Trade shows are scheduled virtually every month for the rest of the year, so find a water show near you and participate in the protection and management of our most valuable natural resource. I’ll look forward to seeing you out there!

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