The recent general assembly meeting of the International Association of Waterworks in the Danube Catchment Area (IAWD) in Budapest was the perfect platform to recall our achievements in 2005/2006 and direct our professional association’s focus on the new developments and projects lying ahead.
The EU eastward enlargement also dominated IAWD activities in the past two years. As the community of nations sharing their values grew bigger, many new national water associations were founded. In the past decade, colleagues from different Danube countries showed a strong interest in presenting themselves to the water industry under a joint IAWD umbrella. But now many of them are seeking to pursue individualistic goals.
Although we all treasure this growing self-confidence, it is also important to proceed with caution. After all, the old Roman principle “divide et impera” (share and rule) still largely applies today. The 2008 World Water Congress in Vienna, organised in conjunction with the IWA and IAWD, will be the perfect platform to demonstrate more togetherness and stand up for the indivisible interests of water supply companies in the Danube Region.
Needless to say, the number and quality of IAWD activities largely depends on the commitment of individual member organisations and their experts. The Austrian capital, represented by the Vienna Waterworks, lends the IAWD head office all its support and thereby greatly contributes to the success of our activities.
IAWD clearly directs much of its attention to large events, and last year we managed to use several of these events to showcase our work. At the trade show Wasser Berlin, for instance, IAWD and the International Association of Water Works in the Rhine Catchment Area (IAWR) had a joint exhibition stand. Modelled on the successful appearance in Marrakech in 2004, IAWD also organised a collective stand for the IWA World Water Congress in Beijing together with other organisations in the Danube Region.
Especially the Danube Reception, the opening event of the Congress, was a great success. It also marked the start of preparations for the 2008 Congress in Vienna. The framework agreement needed for organising this major event was already signed in June 2006. With the participation in the KATER II Congress and its closing ceremony at the Vienna City Hall, a successful 2006 year of events for IAWD drew to a close.
It goes without saying that our participation in large events will only have the desired long-term effect if we continously revise IAWD’s organisation structure and content. In 2006, regular executive board meetings and in particular two meetings of the technical-scientific advisory board and the technical-economic advisory board were tailored to this purpose.
The detailed work results of the two important advisory boards are summarised in a special report. Apart from these efforts, it will also be important in the future to motivate members to actively participate in the two advisory boards. Whatever activities we undertake – measurement programmes, benchmarkings, or assessments –, they all serve to strengthen IAWD’s profile and ensure that decision-makers respect us as a truly important representative body for the entire Danube Region!
The Central and Eastern European Benchmarking Initiative for Water Supply Utilities (CEEEBI) is the proposal for a pilot project managed by IAWD and its partners (BOKU Vienna, TU Graz and ÖVGW) that deals with this specific issue. CEEEBI is based on the ÖVGW benchmarking project and seeks to make the management tools provided in the latter accessible for the new EU member states. Such a project on capacity building also has good chances of becoming eligible for EU funding.
In my capacity as President of IAWD, I finally would like to thank all those who, through their dedication and commitment, have contributed to the huge progress of our association in recent years.
(Source: aqua press Int. 2/2007, DI Hans Sailer)
of Waterworks in the Danube Catchment Area/IAWD
DI Hans Sailer (President)
c/o Vienna Waterworks
Tel.: +43/1/599 59-31 070