Although The Water Industry Is Often Taken For Granted, Its Leaders Should Be Celebrated

Successful leaders in the water industry should be celebrated. That is the reason, three years ago, we decided to introduce the Top 25 Water Leaders series.

Jan 1st, 2017
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By Tom Freyberg, Chief editor

Successful leaders in the water industry should be celebrated. That is the reason, three years ago, we decided to introduce the Top 25 Water Leaders series. Since then the list has grown in popularity. I receive countless emails in January asking when the magazine is coming out so people can find out who has made the Top 25. Forget the weekly Top 40 countdown of music downloads, streams and record sales, it’s all about the Top 25 Water Leaders!

We’d like to congratulate each and every professional who has been voted into the list. Yet there can only be one winner. This year we are proud to announce that René Noppeney from Royal HaskoningDHV has secured the top spot, receiving the most amount of votes from our readers.

A known eccentric who can often be seen at multiple international shows, Noppeney has played a big role in helping to roll out the Nereda process globally. As you can read in our feature interview (pg.12), the Dutch consultant has big plans for what he calls “activated sludge 2.0” technology. Currently there is an installed based of 37 Nereda plants, with half in operation and the remaining in construction or under design. He says that the installed base could well double within the next year.

Although the technology has been praised as innovative and can be seen disrupting traditional water treatment, it should be noted that to get to this stage it has taken 20 years. As Noppeney says, sometimes people think it has taken days, not years to get to where the team is. It hasn’t simply been an overnight success. Taking a university R&D project, trialling it in the home nation’s utility and then commercialising its roll out to have multiple installations globally takes years and years of hard graft. It’s also a lesson to younger companies with new technologies out there - don’t give up.

On the subject of leaders, also check out our interview with former Thames Water CEO Martin Baggs (pg.14), as well as a look into the dark world of cyber crime and why utilities have become targets (pg.18).

Now many people dislike this time of the year. It’s the post-holiday period glut; a time for New Year’s Resolutions to be made and broken in equal measure. Instead let’s celebrate the start of 2017. Let’s celebrate leadership in this industry and a year of innovation and change. Let’s celebrate the incredible work this industry does and will continue to do, often unpraised.

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