BIWA Nocturnal 2017

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The 3rd edition of the BIWA Nocturnal took place on the 16th of May, at a venue already familiar to some of us: the Colonial Palace in Tervuren. This 3rd event event specifically aimed to be a communication platform for policy makers and initiators of smaller scale and local water-related activities. The official title of the evening was 'top-down versus bottom-up: how to improve water quality and quantity'.

Speakers and discussion outcomes

The two main speakers of the evening were be Mr. Van Waeyenberge (AquaFed) and Mr. Dhont (CIW and VMM). Both showed great enthusiasm about being invited, and this enthusiasm was clearly reflected in their great presentations. Next to these two gentlemen, also Dirk Halet (Vlakwa), Lieven Demolder (Clean Energy Invest) and Victor Dries (Counsellor environment, Office of Vice-Minister president Liesbeth Homans) gave short presentations, describing some more specific cases of how they got (and get) citizens to be involved in their water projects. The panel discussion following these presentations opened up the floor for questions from the audience and was led by prof. em. Willy Verstraete. The main outcome of the discussion was two-pronged:

  • Scientists should reach out more to policy makers, preferably with specific numbers and examples, even with worst case scenarios, just to make the importance of water in all its contexts clear.
  • Interdisciplinarity is key if we actually want to change things. Technology providers and engineers alone can try all they want, if we don't know how people react, we are nowhere. Especially the involvement of people with a background in law, economics and social sciences can assure that we reach the impact we are striving for.

 The second part of the evening involved flash presentations, short impressions of presentations given at IWA conferences during the past year. The presentations can be found below.

BIWA Awards

A last part of the BIWA Nocturnal is classically the awarding of the BIWA Awards. This year, these were awareded to:

  • Research Award: PhD Youri Amerlinck, BIOMATH, Ghent University, for his paper entitled A realistic dynamic blower energy consumption model for wastewater applications.
  • Development collaboration Award: Embialle Mengistie Beyene (Jimma University, Ethiopia) and Tom Van Gerven (KULeuven), for their work on Chromium remediation from leather tanneries.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: prof. Patrick Meire, Chair of the Department of Biology, Universiteit Antwerpen, for an impressive career as an internationally recognised expert in Integrated Water Management and Ecosystem services and for bridging, on many occasions, the gap between research and application.

16 May, 2017