During the Annual Meeting hosted on December 14th, 2020, 30 individual Watershare members from 18 of our member institutions and utilities came together online to 1) review 2020’s achievements as an international water sector community, 2) to define action for 2021, as well as to 3) discuss key strategic areas, such as the set-up of Regional Hubs and Thematic Communities.
Part 1: Looking Back
- COVID19 – 3 Webinars, 2 Strategic Meetings, research and collaboration, EU vs Virus Hackathon
- Member activities: AySA Hackathon, CERIDES Nicosia Forum, and webinars
- New members 2020: University of Exeter, KTH, Eau de Paris, Cornell University
- Digital and teleworking community with online meetings and events
Part 2: Looking Ahead
The Watershare team and members must continue working on networking opportunities, as well as exploring smart water technologies and teleworking capacity.
- Upcoming activities and ideas
- Strategic meetings
- Member webinars
- Regionals Hubs
- CoPs restructuring
Members discussed further and agreed that in the future a hybrid model of online and in-person meetings should be the goal moving forward, enabling more members to join in on meetings and activities.
Part 3: Regional Hubs
In the following section, the Regional Hub ideas and objectives will be outlined, as well as the main ideas that resulted from the discussion during the Annual Meeting.
Five regional hubs were proposed, as developed by members.
Why regional hubs? Members share their thoughts:
- George Boustras (CERIDES): There is a need for a risk-management approach with water utilities and the exchange of best practices.
- Mamohloding Tlhagale (WRC): The ambition is to make sure all research reaches the whole continent.
- Gonzalo Meschengieser (AySA): The water utilities in LATAM are the largest in the world, and Watershare members can learn from it. Regional hubs can also address new and trending topics and define how water utilities can best respond.
Besides these initial hubs, we discussed the idea of a India and Bangladesh hub.
Further ideas discussed that could be a part of the regional hubs:
- Anti-microbial resistance in the environment, linked to COVID19, as proposed by Zoi Dorothea Pana from CERIDES
- New trends in the water sector and how Watershare members can respond, as mentioned by Gonzalo Meschengieser from AySA
Part 4: Communities Restructuring
Upon the proposal of new communities within Watershare, some key challenges were raised and each of these groups would need to be further elaborated on with member input.