By Peter Cartwright

In November 2023, I spent four frenetic but exciting days at Aquatech Amsterdam. Held every two years, it is arguably the largest water exposition in the world. I have been going since the early 1980s and it seems to get bigger every year! The 2023 event featured 837 exhibitors and drew 19,228 visitors. The exhibition occupied six halls, underscoring the requirement for comfortable shoes.

There were four “Aquatech Worlds” lecture venues, including one sponsored by the Water Quality Association (Clean Water World). World of Process Water focused on how industries optimize water use, marrying efficiency with environmental care. World of Drinking Water showcased advancements in producing safe, accessible water for all and highlighted global efforts towards water security. World of Waste Water emphasized the environmental value of recycling and reuse. Each venue provided a different perspective on addressing water challenges.

There was an evening event where industry professionals shared their biggest mistakes and the lessons learned from them. It was a reminder that failure is an integral part of part of innovation and progress. The candid stories of miscalculations and missteps and how they paved the way for better solutions were inspiring. I’ll be putting it on my calendar for 2025.

As an international exhibition, the exposition featured pavilions from numerous countries, including Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, France, Denmark, and The Netherlands, of course. There were many exhibitors from Asia, mainly China, but I noticed exhibitors from all over the world.

The exhibit halls were well organized with booths representing applications generally grouped together in specific halls. Process Control & Automation, Transport & Storage, Water & Wastewater Treatment are examples. The point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry grouping commanded much of my attention. WQA was represented and there were a number of WQA member companies represented.

This international forum offers the opportunity to not only meet new manufacturers, but also to learn about new technologies. There were innumerable POU reverse osmosis units (many countertops) on display, and I noticed many UV units as well.

We are all aware that water is a complex ingredient of life, and climate change has made the availability of an adequate quantity of safe, functional, and economic water very difficult. For those of us in the water treatment industry, accessing the appropriate (and possibly new) technology is an ongoing challenge.

The relaxed atmosphere in the halls provided the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new contacts, both professional and personal. In my mind, there is no better venue to see tried and true technologies and new, innovative developments from all over the world in one convenient setting. The challenge is to have the time to see it all!

A personal comment about attending conferences and exhibitions in Europe: virtually everyone, including visitors, dresses up. Men wear ties and women wear business attire. Also, all exhibitors offer coffee, tea, and snacks, at least. The moment you walk into a booth, someone asks what you would like to drink. I’ve noticed that this is also de rigueur when you visit a company in Europe. Hospitality is key and something we on this side of the Atlantic could learn from.

RAI Amsterdam is the organizer of Aquatech Amsterdam. In 2024, RAI also offers Aquatechs in two other locations: Mexico City, Mexico, and Shanghai, China.

The next Aquatech Amsterdam will be March 11-14, 2025. The Netherlands is internationally famous for its flowers, which may be in bloom then. Regardless, it’s a great place to visit with friendly people (who all speak perfect English, by the way), great museums, and a fantastic history.

Peter Cartwright owns a consulting engineering firm and is a member of the WC&P International magazine technical review committee. Cartwright can be reached via email at [email protected] or visit his website


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