One Water, One World, One Show? Time Has Come To Get Together

With Super Bowl XLVI behind us, I imagine what I would be doing the first Sunday of February if the old AFL and NFL never combined their teams in 1967 to form the first Super Bowl.

By Scott Kelly

With Super Bowl XLVI behind us, I imagine what I would be doing the first Sunday of February if the old AFL and NFL never combined their teams in 1967 to form the first Super Bowl. We all know the first Super Bowl had its doubters, but 46 Super Bowls later, it has become the most watched television event drawing a worldwide audience and record advertising revenue.

Fast forward to today. Imagine you're standing in the middle of the world's largest water show at New Orleans' Convention Center. There's a buzz from 20,000+ attendees all around you as they talk about water projects, products and innovation. In a conference room upstairs a national clean water association is hosting round tables with federal, state and municipal leaders talking regulations. In another room a membrane association is conducting in-depth certification training for operators and mechanics.

You're surrounded by over 1,500 exhibit booths with new product unveilings going on all the time. Three rows down the stormwater technology area is buzzing with new exhibitors while a national stormwater association hosts innovative technology sessions right on the show floor.

Only a dream? For industry professionals and manufacturers it could be a dream come true. Imagine combining our two separate water shows into a single ACE-WEFTEC World Water Week. Both WEF and AWWA are dedicated to knowledge, networking and helping their members move forward in their careers. Imagine what we can accomplish if we get together in the same place.

Water and wastewater equipment manufacturers have talked about "One Water, One World, One Show" for years. It helps us accomplish two goals – make efficient use of staff and financial resources and increase booth traffic. More people walking through the exhibit hall is a dream for all exhibitors. It's all about the traffic.

As the economy grinds on, now is a great time for all of us to look ahead, think where we want to go and bring ACE and WEFTEC together to make our annual event twice as strong. In addition, manufacturers I've spoken with pledge to support the financial health of the associations, and, I believe, will grow stronger.

Here are more reasons why one show is important:

* Knowledge – Sharing knowledge is at the heart of both associations, they work to help members and the industry succeed. Combining allows everyone to share knowledge across sectors and make us all stronger. We're already converging as an industry, so a combined event is a natural progression.

* Political Power – Combining shows means bringing together more water people, ideas and speakers. Our voice with regulators will grow louder if we all talk together. In addition, the larger audience is a bigger draw for high-profile EPA, Environment Canada and political leaders. Perhaps celebrities and global media could also be drawn to a larger water event.

* Environment – Moving to one water show cuts down on tremendous waste and pollution for exhibitors – cutting in half the number of airplane trips, truck shipments, booth designs, set-up and tear-down and all the waste generated at the end of the show. As environmental leaders here's our chance to get smart and save resources.

* Global Appeal – Why let only the Germans host the world's largest water show at IFAT? Let's get the great water manufacturers from Canada, the USA and Mexico together under one roof. A massive World Water Week will attract more international visitors so they can see our innovations. A big show is a big boost for manufacturers and a big boost for jobs in America, Canada and Mexico. We're pushed by regulators to be the best at managing water, reuse, stormwater and wastewater, why not lead the world in innovation and standards? Let's share our knowledge with the world at a large conference.

* Economic Impact – A combined show draws exhibitors and attendees from around the world for an entire week. The economic impact for the host city gives conference organizers more negotiating power to select future sites.

I know this is a struggle to implement and will take time, but we can do it. We're the water industry – we make amazing things happen every day. First step is for members from both groups to dream big and talk this out. What do you think of World Water Week? Let us know at and we can build our own Super Bowl for Water Pros. See you in New Orleans!

About the author: Scott Kelly is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JWC Environmental, a Costa Mesa, CA-based manufacturer of grinders and fine screens for water, wastewater and stormwater, known for its famous Muffin Monster brand sewage grinder. Kelly serves on the WWEMA Board of Directors.

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