This week PhD student Richard from the Bangor team of Dŵr Uisce has been in Cardiff attending the Utility Week, Wales Energy Conference; and the WWT, Wales Water Conference 2017. The combination of these two conferences compliments the Water-Energy-Nexus theme which underpins the wider Dŵr Uisce project theme. Across both days, one message in particular continued to be repeated, this being that Wales is big enough to make a difference, but small enough to make it happen.
The Wales Energy conference gave excellent insight to various topics, technologies, and case studies, with speakers ranging from utilities companies, to researchers, to the Deputy Director of Energy, Water and Flood for the Welsh Government. Talks varied on topics from the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, to the Future of Embedded Energy Generation. The latter of these talks took the water sector, Dŵr Cymru specifically, as an example, demonstrating the interconnected nature of water and energy. A key theme appearing from the day was the great opportunity Wales has to become a hotbed for research and innovation in the energy sector, benefiting from nearly a full complement of different energy generation types.
The Wales Water Conference also had speakers from a wide range of backgrounds, including sector regulators, water companies, researchers, and various levels of government. The conference provided very useful, interesting, and thought provoking content and discussion throughout the day; with sessions covering the evolving landscape of the Welsh water sector; resilience in the water environment in Wales; water quality; and innovation in the sector. A recurring message from this conference was that collaboration across stakeholders and sectors is key to the continued development and success of water resource management.