On Wednesday, Nov. 6 Mueller Water Products, a supporter of The Water Tower, hosted the North Georgia Smart Water Symposium at SunTrust Park.
Mueller invited water resource professionals and other non-profit organization representatives to discuss the future of water resources. The Symposium included product presentations, conversations over the future of water, and a presentation by The Water Tower CEO Melissa Meeker.
Meeker presented her vision for The Water Tower that conducts applied research, supports technology innovation, develops the workforce, and engages stakeholders.
“We want to make a new iconic vision. Let’s meet at The Water Tower. Let’s talk about innovation,” Meeker said.
Speaking of innovation, at the Symposium Mueller Water Products introduced Sentryx data sensing and discussed the recent successes of Advanced Metering Infrastructure in Charlotte, NC.
The Water Tower will help utilities connect with companies like Mueller to have a greater conversation.
“I am trying to create that place where people come together – where you have your own programs but you’re able to bring your success stories so that we can share those with others,” Meeker said. “The partnership with GGWI [Georgia Water and Wastewater Institute] is so critical because it does create that audience for innovative technologies and that direct feedback to companies like Mueller. You are actually able to hear from people ‘this is a great program, but this dashboard just doesn’t do it for me, what I really want to know is x.’ That feedback is going to help them provide us with the products we need to better improve the system.”
The future of water was the forefront of the discussion.
“We have done a really poor job of taking the data and doing something about it,” said Matt Cannavale.
Cannavale, the Metrology Product Manager for Mueller Water Products, listed industry concerns for the future which include maintaining asset life, conserving water, reducing non-revenue water, maintaining service levels in the face of declining budgets, and training the next generation workforce.
“What we have historically done is wait for things to go wrong,” Cannavale said.
Many utilities are challenged by the aging infrastructure that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Waiting means losing time, resources, and most importantly, water.
“We are a very conservative industry. I don’t need to tell all of you that. And for good reason - our goal and our responsibility are to public health and to environmental protection. But there are some great things out there and we need to get comfortable with them,” Meeker said. “The best way, to me, to get comfortable with them is to see them in action and to actually visualize what that technology can do for you and your space.”
Meeker called for those in attendance to ask themselves how they will impact the future of water.
“As these facilities get built, and we are bringing people through, we have a great opportunity through existing relations and through relationships that we are building to have a bigger impact,” Meeker said.
Together we will have a bigger impact.
The Water Tower is a new breed of innovation center providing answers to a multitude of complex challenges facing the water industry through an integrated approach to applied research, technology innovation, workforce development, and stakeholder engagement. With its mission to be a thriving ecosystem of water innovation fueled by imagination, informed by research, and powered by pioneers, The Water Tower is especially invested in helping utilities devise strategies to benefit from digital advancements in water supply and quality. For more information visit www.theh2otower.org