Day One

November 29, 2017


Registration Opens


Networking Breakfast


Opening Plenary: Proactive Partnerships

The 2017 American Water Summit comes at a critical time for America’s water sector. From infrastructure finance to oilfield water management, the key levers of the industry are changing at an unprecedented rate.

A devastating hurricane season has shifted the conversation toward asset optimization and resilience, while the absence of a comprehensive federal infrastructure plan is forcing the market to innovate in the face of new and traditional challenges.

This high-level opening panel will assess the key trends shaping the industry and discuss how proactive partnerships can support new business models and technological innovation.


Debra G. Coy, XPV Water Partners


2017 Strand Descriptions

Emerging Opportunities

Show Description

From renewed activity in key industrial segments to increased federal support for the deployment of private capital, this strand will highlight the changes sweeping the American water sector and the opportunities emerging as a result.

The CTO Forum

Show Description

Informed by GWI’s Chief Technology Officer section, this strand will harness the insight of industry experts to discuss the opportunities for technology innovation in the American water sector, including the disruptive potential of digital water solutions.

Leading Utilities of the World

Show Description

A truly visionary conversation on utility innovation requires the world’s operational thought-leaders. The Leading Utilities of the World is a network of premier water service providers dedicated to fostering a truly innovative culture at utilities worldwide. Periodically, LUOW inducts new member utilities, each of whom represents the gold standard of utility innovation and performance. Sit in on this inspiring strand and see what it takes to join the Leading Utilities of the World.

Foundation Partner


Networking & Coffee Break


Roundtables Session: The 20 Most Urgent Questions for US Water in 2018

At the start of the year, the drop-off in investment in water and wastewater infrastructure could be written off to the changeover in federal administrations. As of July, the US Census Bureau reported spending on water over the last 2 years is down over 20%, and the promised trillion-dollar stimulus has yet to materialize.

Mega-mergers in the engineering sector, catastrophic failure in Flint, Michigan, and struggles at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority: these are all signs that the US water sector is in crisis. Interest in private finance for water is surging, and water businesses are developing new strategies outside the municipal sector.

The American Water Summit in Austin will tackle these issues head on. The agenda for the Roundtables Session answers the 20 most urgent questions for water in 2018.

  1. Can the downward trend in capital investment be reversed?

    This is the trillion-dollar question: we need to understand the drivers of investment and the restraints that it is facing from a lot of different angles before we can put together a full picture of what is happening, and the actions that will need to take place to reverse the trend.

    Host: Bill Malarkey, Amane Advisors

  2. What new financing will Washington offer?

    The consensus is that the White House has little to offer in terms of grant funding, but we need to hear from the smart people who are working behind the scenes at the White House Council on Environmental Quality about where the thinking is currently moving in terms of increased opportunities for private finance.

    Host: Brent Fewell, Earth & Water Group

  3. Is big best for engineers and their clients?

    Nobody has fully grasped the implications of the rapid consolidation which is turning the engineering sector upside down. Probably even the CEOs leading the consolidation have yet to understand the implications fully. We need to understand the meaning of big, from the point of view of the clients, the equipment suppliers, and the firms themselves.

    Host: Tim Chinn, AECOM

  4. Will utility consolidation start to accelerate?

    Most people agree that there are probably 55,000 too many water utilities in the US, but hitherto, small town politics and pride have stopped any moves towards meaningful consolidation. That is starting to change as regulatory requirements, financial constraints and the possibilities of technology change the equation. We need to hear about what is happening at the front line of consolidation.

    Host: Bill Teichmiller, EJ Water CoopAssociation of Regional Water Organizations and Hector Gonzalez, El Paso Water

  5. Will design-build pick up significant market share?

    There is a growing financial imperative to control costs and optimize projects, but are utilities and the engineers advising them ready to update the procurement model? It could change the whole landscape of the US water sector.

    Host: John Doller, Carollo Engineers, Water Design-Build Council

  6. How will utilities address their asset management challenges?

    Underground assets are at the front line of the municipal funding crisis. Will smart solutions save the day, or is there no alternative but increased investment?

    Host: Brett Jokela, Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility

  7. What does Flint mean for water?

    When it happened, we thought it was just a problem of lead lines leaching into the water supply, but three years later it is looking a lot nastier than that, with five officials facing manslaughter charges. We need to understand the science behind the crisis in order to project its future impact.

    Host: Joseph Cotruvo, Joseph Cotruvo & Associates LLC

  8. Will treatment and reuse take off in the unconventional oil and gas business?

    Hydraulic fracturing has been the biggest growth market for water in the past decade. Hitherto it has been largely about trucking operations and disposal wells, but as the supply sector consolidates, will we see increased interest in treatment and reuse technologies?

    Host: Amanda Brock, Water Standard

  9. Where next for desal?

    Until now, the big debate has been whether the California coast or the Texas coast offers the better opportunity, but the real demand is for inland brackish desal. With new technologies pushing for higher recovery rates, and the prospect of commercial salt recovery, will inland brackish win the day?

    Host: Andy Kingman, Poseidon Water

  10. Is municipal reuse for industrial customers the future of sustainability in the West?

    The decision to rely on Reno’s wastewater to supply Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 and a Switch data center in the Nevada desert shows that water need not limit economic growth, even in the most arid regions. Will this landmark deal open the way for others to follow?

    Host: Patricia Mulroy, Brookings Institution

  11. What new financing instruments will gain traction?

    As state and federal funding for municipalities continues to fall, cities are increasingly looking to bundle or pool assets in order to get the best financing deals. What does this new dynamic mean for the water sector?

    Host: Obie Ugboaja and Ted ChapmanS&P Global Infrastructure Ratings

  12. Do the markets still have an appetite for water pure-plays?

    The big industrials – GE and Siemens – have ejected their water interests, disappointed at the returns, but US water stocks have on average outperformed both companies. With Pentair reinventing itself as a water pure-play, and Evoqua’s recent IPO, what do market insiders think about the prospects for water stocks?

    Host: Deane Dray, RBC Capital Markets

  13. What are the lessons from Harvey and Irma?

    This year’s hurricane season has put stormwater management on the map as never before. How will the communities most affected invest to increase their resilience?

    Host: Yvonne Forrest, City of Houston, TX

  14. Can technology cut the cost of combined sewer overflow corrections in half?

    US sewer authorities are face a $48 billion bill to bring their systems into compliance, unless they can find ways of using new technologies to solve the problem the smart way. What are the people at the front line saying about the opportunity?

    Hosts: Greg Quist, SmartCover Systems and Eric HorvathCity of South Bend, IN

  15. Can we make the Internet-of-Things safe for water?

    Concerns about cyber security are holding back the development of smart water networks. Where do cyber security experts see the risks, and what can be done to address them?

    Host: Stephen Ridley, Senrio

  16. Are community-based P3s the way ahead for stormwater management?

    We know how green infrastructure can improve stormwater management, but we haven’t yet uncovered a satisfactory model to finance it. The EPA is advocating a new kind of public-private partnership to address the problem; will it work?

    HostsDominique Lueckenhoff, US EPA Region III and Seth Brown, Storm & Stream Solutions, LLC

  17. Where is the reuse revolution taking California?

    The main legacy of the 2011-2017 drought in the Golden State has been a surge in interest in water reuse. What can we learn from the agencies leading this revolution?

    Hosts: Dominique Demessence, SUEZ and Gloria Gray, West Basin Municipal District

  18. Are decentralized systems the fastest growing segment of the market?

    As big city finances crumble, companies selling pre-engineered systems that serve off-grid customers seem to be doing conspicuously well. Is this the paradigm for the future?

    Host: Zach F. Gallagher, Natural Systems Utilities

  19. What is the next big thing in treatment technology?

    In the past five years, just two new treatment technologies – Cambi’s thermal hydrolysis and Royal HaskoningDHV’s Nereda process – have had a significant global impact. What made them successful, and which technology will be the next to break through?

    Host: Art Umble, MWH now Part of Stantec

  20. Where is the power now: in the technology or in the platform?

    Technology platforms such as Evoqua, Mueller Water Products, Xylem, Trojan and Suez have been doing very much better than technology start-ups (there have been no good exits since NanoH2O). How should technology companies adjust their strategy to position themselves on the winning side?

    Host: Bruce Lounsbury, XPV Water Partners

Sponsored By



Trevor Hill, FATHOM

Sponsored By


One-2-One Networking Session/Networking & Coffee Break

The One-2-One Networking Sessions are designed to secure valuable face time with any registered delegate.

One-2-One Networking provides an intimate setting for you to shake hands and strike pivotal deals.

Sponsored By


Emerging Opportunities

Politics and Private Finance: Water’s New Deal?

The US federal administration is proposing a radical rethinking of infrastructure investment which will be underpinned by private capital. With the private sector eagerly waiting in the wings, the onus will be on federal and state agencies to create the necessary framework to support these untapped dollars. Will this new landscape revolutionize the US water sector?


Brent Fewell, Earth & Water Group



Sponsored By

The CTO Forum

Smart Water: Uncovering the Richest Returns

Big data, the internet of things and machine learning offer a wealth of opportunities to save money and increase revenues in the water sector. However the market for smart solutions has yet to grow beyond the early adopters. This panel brings together some of the utilities at the cutting edge of this market with leading technology suppliers to answer the key question: where is the smart money?


Leading Utilities of the World

Inducting New LUOW Members

The Leading Utilities of the World expands with the initiation of a fresh group of international utilities. Each utility presents their parameters for innovation, lists their achievements over the past 5 years, and lays out their objectives for the coming years. The group’s advisory board oversee presentations by inductees before beginning Q&A. See what it takes for a utility to join ranks with the best in the world.

Chaired by Howard Neukrug, this session features LUOW board members from the following utilities:

Show Board Members

  • DC Water
  • City of Kitakyushu
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • PUB, Singapore
  • Waternet
  • Water Corporation

New Members

Foundation Partner


One-2-One Networking Session/Networking & Coffee Break

Sponsored By


Emerging Opportunities

Expanding Partnerships Beyond the Core

As heightened scrutiny drives utilities to double down on their core water and wastewater responsibilities, opportunities are opening up for partnering with the private sector in non-customer facing activities including biosolids disposal, stormwater management and digital operations. There are new prospects for technology companies, asset investors, engineers and operators alike, and it is now time to take the market seriously. We bring together key players from the public and private sectors to explore the future of non-core operations.


George Hawkins, DC Water



Sponsored By

The CTO Forum

Tech Idol: Pioneering Advanced Treatment Technologies

Contestants pitch new technologies to a panel of industry experts for a chance to win the coveted Tech Idol Award and claim bragging rights for 2018. Each presenter will undergo a series of rapid-fire questions while audience members join the discussion and vote on the most innovative technology.



Sponsored By

Leading Utilities of the World

Leadership Roundtables

In this structured roundtable session, presenters from the opening session receive feedback from the Advisory Board of the Leading Utilities of the World. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the insight exchanges among the world’s preeminent utilities in an intimate setting. Gain insider information about driving progress in the municipal water sector and how utilities can secure even higher levels of performance.

Featured LUOW Members

Foundation Partner


One-2-One Networking Session/Networking Break

Sponsored By


Cocktail Hour

Sponsored By


Gala Dinner

We will announce the 2017 Tech Idol winner and officially inaugurate this year’s new members of the Leading Utilities of the World.

Master of Ceremonies

Rich Henning, SUEZ

Guest Speaker

Pete McBride, National Geographic

An award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and writer, Pete has traveled on assignment to over 70 countries for National GeographicSmithsonianThe New YorkerOutsideMen’s JournalEsquire, and many others.


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