BIWA Awards 2018

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Every year, BIWA recognises water professionals that have demonstrated exceptional achievements in different categories. At the annual Nocturnal event on May 24th, IWA president Diane D'Arras handed over the following awards:

The BIWA Research Award 2018

The Reseach Award recognizes an outstanding research paper in the domain of water authored by a lead author from a Belgian research organsisation. The 2018 award became an ex-aequo and went to:

  • Lai Peng et al. (University of Antwerp) with the paper entitled Smart operation of nitritation/denitritation virtually abolishes nitrous oxide emissions during treatment of co-digested pig slurry concentrate.
  • Andreia Amaral et al. (Ghent University) with the paper entitled Towards advanced aeration modelling: from blower to bubbles to bulk.

The BIWA Water Development and Collaboration Award 2018

This award is reserved for a succesful collaboration between a Belgian partner (academic, industry or government) and a partner in a developing country, in the area of water.

The 2018 award goes to:

  • Korneel Rabaey (Ghent University) and Srikanth Mutnuri (Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Goa, India) with the project The Empowered Septic Tank.

An honorful mention goes to the project submitted by Sabine Schellens (Aquafin NV) and Bart Devos (Young Water Solutions) highlighting the Young Water Fellowship Program.

The BIWA Water Career Achievement Award 2018

The Water Career Achievement Award represents BIWA’s most important award. It recognizes an individual with an exceptional and sustained track record in the area of water.

The 2018 award goes to:

  • Boudewijn Van De Steene

The jury motivates its decision as follows:

The award is an appreciation of a distinguished career in the water sector companies ‘Aquafin’ and ‘De Watergroep’, as well as significant support to (B)IWA as an organisation.

With employee number 2, Boudewijn Van De Steene was one of the founding fathers of Aquafin, created in 1990 as a public-private partnership to accelerate the treatment of domestic sewage in Flanders. As Director of Planning he was responsible for an investment programme representing several billion euros per year. In 2002, the Flemish Government revisited the role of Aquafin, in function of the Water Framework Directive and Integrated Water Management. At that time, Boudewijn took on the role of Commercial Director, and also Aquaplus was part of his responsibilities. It should be clear that Boudewijn left a significant mark on the practical execution of the waste water treatment policy in Flanders over the last decades. He helped Aquafin to become a reference in the European water sector.

Also R&D was part of his responsibilities. As part time professor at Antwerp University he understood the importance of scientific innovation, and he regularly participated in conferences. He was an active member of BIWA and EurEau and gave his full support to those organisations. He managed to attract the 6th IWA Specialty Conference on Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse for Sustainability to Antwerp in 2007. An attempt to bring the IWA World Conference to Belgium, a dossier into which he put his whole weight, was unfortunately a near miss.

In 2012, the Flemish Government appointed Boudewijn as the new Director-General of ‘De Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening’, currently known as ‘De Watergroep’. From waste water to drinking water, it seems simple, but it was a more significant change than anticipated. He was instrumental in the companany’s name change, which also reflected the renewed dynamic vision and mission of the organisation. At De Watergroep he also elaborated with the board the Plan 2014-2020, with a clear vision for the future. This plan also allowed De Watergroep to achieve several acquisitions in the sector.

At the personal level he was a 'man of all seasons': wise in his decisions, respected in his profession, experienced in democratic decision making, strict, transparent and entrusting with his collaborators.