Callum Clench, IWRA Executive Director
I am writing this editorial from the City of Daegu in the Republic of Korea (or South Korea as it is more commonly known). Daegu will be the host city of IWRA’s XVII World Water Congress planned for May 2020. IWRA is here on the occasion of the 3rd Korea International Water Week (KIWW). We are represented here by a record number of people from our Executive Board and Office: Patrick Lavarde (President), Gary Jones (current ISC Chair), Gabriel Eckstein (former ISC Chair), and IWRA Board members Henning Bjornlund, James Nickum, Jun-Haeng Heo, Ahmet Mete Saatçi, are here, supported by myself, and three of my team (Ignacio Deregibus, Stephanie Kuisma and Heather Bond).
In addition to carrying out a technical visit of the venue for our Congress, our representatives also spoke at a number of KIWW sessions and side events, including the Water Leader’s Round Table; the World Water Partnership; the World Water Challenge; the World Water Cities Forum; and sessions in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, K-water and the Korea Water Forum. I would like to express on behalf of everyone here our gratitude for the incredibly warm hospitality we have received here by all of our hosts, including the Mayor of Daegu Metropolitan City Mr. Kwon Young-jin, the Korea Water Forum, and also one of our oldest members and great colleague, Prof. Lee Soon-tak. Finally, I congratulate the organisers of KIWW for an excellent event
We have been very impressed with the facilities here in Daegu, which some of you may have visited for the 7th World Water Forum. EXCO will be an excellent venue for our XVII World Water Congress to take place. Daegu is setting itself up as a global water hub and is investing around $250 million in the Korea Water Cluster, an industrial zone to house research centres, water-related companies and testing sites. Finding innovative solutions to the usual problems associated with industrialisation, urbanisation, and climate change, the city has an interesting story to share with similar medium sized cities around the world and we look forward to learning more about this at our Congress. Daegu is therefore a perfect location for our first ever World Water Congress in the Far East.
We are also excited that two of our key report projects are nearing completion: “Smart Water Management” in strong collaboration with K-water, and “Developing a Compendium of Water Quality Guidelines” supported by ONEMA and the World Water Council. Both reports had their final draft executive summaries launched at KIWW, and the main reports will be released on-line by the end of this year – so please keep an eye out for them. These reports are the result of the collaboration of a large number of individuals both within IWRA and with key partners. It is very satisfying the see IWRA delivering its remit of knowledge sharing, networking and capacity building through these concrete projects, and we look forward to the follow-up phases of work. These projects have also offered our members to roll up their sleeves and get involved through the IWRA task forces. Thank you to these members for all their help. If you are also interested in joining a task force, please contact our office.
Finally, as we head into the last quarter of 2018, we also enter into our key election period for the next Board (2019-2021). Candidate information is included in this newsletter. To vote in the elections, please ensure that your membership is up-to-date. As only fully paid members may vote, if you hold free student membership, please consider upgrading to young professional or regular membership status in order to secure your vote. In the meantime, we will continue to work with our current Board to wrap things up and prepare for the handover. I send a big thanks to all of them for their incredible contributions over the past three years.