Angel Simón, Executive Vice-President of SUEZ in charge of the water activity in Europe, today inaugurated the first edition of the Iwater Fair, of which he is President of the Organizing Committee. Until next Thursday this event is bringing together, on a single platform, global knowledge and experiences to confront the major challenges of water, such as efficient management, reuse, water stress and scarce resources, infrastructure financing and new public-private partnership models.
The Fair offers a 360° view by means of differentiated but interconnected spaces: the exhibition area, the conference forum with internationally reputed experts, and two hubs, one devoted to innovation and the other to technology. Angel Simón stressed that “it is a crucial meeting for the sector, in which new developments and shared knowledge are presented with a direct impact on management and on the ability to respond to the challenges of water. We are determined that Iwater will represent a before and an after in the way of thinking and acting. It will also help the internationalization of Spanish companies from the sector, above all in the Mediterranean area and also in Latin America”.
Many of the Fair’s reflections are focused on southern Europe and geographical areas with similar water characteristics and, moreover, the initiatives allow the links with Latin America to be reinforced. For example, the presence has been confirmed of high-level professionals and delegations from Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, and also from India, Israel, Italy, Morocco, China and Denmark, among others. Furthermore, the fact that four major international events are taking place simultaneously in Barcelona — Iwater, Smart City Expo World Congress (devoted to smart cities), Circular Economy European Summit (on the circular economy) and the European Utility Week (focused on energy and supplies) —, which are firmly committed to more sustainable development, denotes a need to act jointly and collaboratively in order to foster a greater impact and capacity for response.
In the first day of the Fair, held today, the American scientist and co-founder of the Pacific Institute of Oakland (California), Peter Gleick, gave the opening talk on a new way of looking at water ("Soft Path for Water"). During his intervention, which took place in the Iwater Forum, he focused on the effects of climate change such as drought, pointing out as solutions a new approach which involves measures of saving, reuse and improved complete water cycle management efficiency, local infrastructures, protection of the environment and the smart economy.
For his part, the economist, engineer, politician, ex-Minister of Agriculture and lecturer from the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Jaime Lamo de Espinosa, gave the talk “The vision of agriculture”, in which he revealed the importance of agriculture, cities and industries collaborating in water resource management. He likewise stated that the lack of food and the small amount of arable land make the use of technology necessary in irrigation and maximum efficiency in use of the resource. This first day also tackled aspects related to urban resilience, highlighting the cases of Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona.
The opening session of these events included also the participation of the President of the Generalitat (Autonomous Government) of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont; the Mayor of l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Núria Marín; the President of Fira de Barcelona’s Governing Board, Josep Lluís Bonet; and the President of the Organizing Committee of the Smart City World Congress 2016, Ramon Roca; among other leading political and institutional figures. Later, the retinue has gone to Smart City Expo World Congress, where has been joined by the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.