Conquering Mountains

WWi celebrates 25 thought leaders in the global industry, all of whom have made a difference in the provision of water and wastewater services, or the research and technology used to do so.


By Tom Freyberg, Chief Editor

WWi celebrates 25 thought leaders in the global industry, all of whom have made a difference in the provision of water and wastewater services, or the research and technology used to do so.

January is a funny month. A time when gym owners cash in on new members trying to undo calorific damage from the festive period. A time when New Year's resolutions are made and broken within days. Yet rather than trying to give something up, instead I always try and use this time to take on something new. This normally takes the form of a physical challenge.

For 2015 I've lined up, with a group of friends, a 20 mile obstacle run, a couple of half marathons and also a "Man Vs Mountain" event. The latter is 23 mile run/hike/crawl up to the top of Mount Snowdon and back. To some this sounds like hell. To me? Pure joy!

The message I'm trying to get across is that we should never be content with just getting by. We should always be trying to better ourselves – to self improve, develop and continue to take on and conquer new challenges. And it's this continued journey of development that we are celebrating in this issue of WWi (here comes the tenuous link).

As the cover concept suggests, we have put together a list of 25 top leaders in the global water/wastewater industries. Together with an advisory committee, we came up with 25 individuals and then asked our readers to vote on who they think deserves to take the top spot. Turn to page 10 to read our six-page special, counting down from 25 and finishing with an interview with the winner – Neil Palmer, CEO of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA).

Australia's desalination industry has come under fire recently. Infrastructure built during a period of drought is now not needed after the rains have returned. Between 2004 and 2012, six large scale desalination plants were delivered. As you can read from our interview on page 14, Palmer is adamant that the droughts will return and built plants will be used. With a AUD$12 billion price tag hanging over the projects, let's hope so. Boasting a career spanning 40 years, Palmer has played a key role in helping the country to secure water supplies for years to come.

On the topic of multi-billion dollar investments, China's South-North Water Transfer project is progressing. The central route of the mammoth engineering project was completed towards the end of last year. As you can read from our in-depth article on page 28, the project is having wide environmental and political implications for a country that will be reliant upon the transfer as a water lifeline.

Nor was it just the Asia/Australasia region that sparked headlines towards the end of 2014. In November the San Diego city council in the US voted unanimously for a multi-billion dollar plan to recycle over 300,000 m3/day of water (read page 25). This new addition will see reused water go to a reservoir, before further treatment to allow direct addition to the water grid.

Whether it's making direct potable reuse more publically acceptable, completing China's water transfer or climbing Mount Snowdon, we should all be setting our own mountains to conquer, no matter the size. So here's to 2015: taking on new challenges and celebrating successes, both personally and professionally.

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