Window on Ottawa 2017: Post-conference Report
CWWA hosted its 17th Annual Window on Ottawa from June 4-6. This Event remains an Association landmark, offering insight into federal programs and activities. The event brought together almost 100 delegates and speakers creating a platform to utility leaders and federal senior representatives to meet and discuss face to face.
The Window opened with a Specialty Workshop on Urban Water Management co-hosted with our partners the Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) and City of Ottawa. The Workshop featured interactive and group activities that allowed delegates to really brainstorm what the city of the future will look like, and how the water and wastewater sector can be leaders in building sustainable communities. The ideas that came out of the Workshop were inspiring, and we’re looking forward to building the next steps at the National Water and Wastewater Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Normally we share the Power Point presentations with only delegates to the event, but the topics covered are so important, and we hope this whets your appetite to attend next year.
Highlights from the Window itself were as follow:
Day 1 featured discussions with Infrastructure Canada, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Canadian Network of Asset Managers (CNAM) on both Phase I and Phase II of the federal infrastructure funding programs. The discussions not only highlighted timelines for funding, but also the importance of having better long term asset management plans. FCM highlighted the new funding opportunities for projects focused on asset management and climate change adaptation, both excellent opportunities for members.
We had an interesting panel discussion on biosolids management – both from the federal and municipal perspective. The session underlined the importance of national leadership on biosolids, to promote their safe use – especially as the national goal of secondary treatment gets implemented.
Our sector is beginning to realize that climate change represents one of the biggest challenges for water and wastewater services – the impacts on an individual region are difficult to predict, and make planning and mitigation challenging. Finding infrastructure solutions that are adaptable to changing weather patterns is imperative, as is municipal leadership in reducing carbon emissions and finding clean energy solutions.
Day 2 featured a panel discussion on lead in drinking water – with the new draft national guideline expected to be finalized sometime in 2018, there’ll be more national attention on the issue of lead, and water utilities will need to be proactive in tackling the issue. The panel resulted in some excellent discussions of the challenges of lead, and how CWWA and our municipal partners can help communicate the complex issue to the public.
The Cyber security presentation highlighted the development by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) of a guidance for the water sector that provides a consistent and repeatable recommended course of action to reduce vulnerabilities in process control systems. This tool will provide a basis to both American and Canadian water sector for a cybersecurity improvement program.
The design of the Window on Ottawa is guided and supported by the technical committees: Drinking Water Quality, Wastewater & Stormwater, Energy & Water Efficiency, Climate Change, Security and Emergency Management, Biosolids, and the newly established Utility Leadership Committee.
We look forward to welcoming you at our next Window on Ottawa!!!
Thanks to our Sponsors:
- City of Ottawa
- Defence Research and Development Canada