US water experts head to China

By Wang Linyan in New York | | Updated: 2017-10-19 10:50

The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will host two conferences in China next month to highlight how Wisconsin's water technology companies can help China address its water challenges.

"One Water, One World: The US-China Conference on Water and Sponge Cities", which will take place on Nov 27 in Nanjing and on Nov 30 in Beijing, will be one of the first conferences between the US and China to focus on the concept of "one water" as a complete water cycle — from the removal of water to its sustainable return to nature.

China launched its "sponge city" program in 2015 to upgrade urban infrastructure to address urban flood risks and improve its use of rainwater.

Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, said the conference is another indication of the international reputation that Wisconsin has achieved in the water technology sector.

"Helping China address some of its water challenges not only benefits that country's citizens, but also presents new opportunities to some of the more than 200 Wisconsin-based companies currently in the water technology sector," Hogan said.

US water experts head to China

Katy Sinnott

The main goal for the conferences, said Katy Sinnott, vice-president for international business development for the WEDC, is to have open and informative two-way conversations about China's water challenges and how Wisconsin could provide solutions that contribute to the success of the sponge city objectives, and from that point begin taking steps to implement workable solutions with Chinese partners.

Sinnott said the Wisconsin participants in the conference look forward to hearing more details about China's sponge cities initiatives and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

During a trade venture to China in March, leaders from WEDC and the Water Council met with key government organizations responsible for the development of "sponge cities".

Those meetings gave Wisconsin officials a better understanding of the water ecosystem in China and how "sponge cities" are being developed; they also laid the groundwork for the council and WEDC to jointly develop a strategy to help China address its water challenges.

"There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the water challenges facing China's cities, which is why we look forward to speaking with officials in each region to learn more about their specific challenges and how Wisconsin companies can play a role in meeting those challenges," Sinnott said.

"The bottom line is that regardless of the size and location or the level of access to clean fresh water it is imperative for every city to wisely manage the water that they do use," she added.

The conferences will feature panels of Wisconsin experts discussing storm water management and efficient water use. More than 200 leaders from government, water technology companies and academia in both countries are expected to attend the two conferences, which will also have representatives from the two cities in attendance.

US water experts head to China

Dean Amhaus

The Water Council is the only global fresh water consortium that deals with the full cycle of fresh water management, from water quality to flood management and water education.

"Through our established ecosystem of academic and research expertise, technological subject-matter experts and support at the regional and state level, we have a special opportunity to assist other countries in their endeavors toward developing 'one-water' cities," said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of the Water Council.

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