Iwater has brought to a close its latest edition, which put digitalization and sustainability at the forefront

Digitalization and sustainability were the main themes of Iwater’s second edition, held last week in Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. Over three days, the trade fair brought together companies, professionals, institutional representatives and experts in water cycle management. It promoted business and professional networking and created an atmosphere conducive to publicising the latest technologies, solutions and advances in the water industry, as well as analysing and discussing its most pressing future challenges.
With the presence of a total of 88 exhibitors from 8 countries, Iwater presented a wide range of technologies, products, solutions and services which form part of the different phases of the water cycle. More than 170 brands were represented at the trade fair.
Iwater 2018 highlighted the need to modernise hydraulic infrastructures to guarantee smart, sustainable water management for cities, industry and agriculture. The trade fair showcased greater technification of water management and treatment through the use of industry 4.0 technologies, such as the Internet of Things, Big Data and Blockchain solutions, which provide real-time information about consumption both for users and managers. Furthermore, Iwater showed that Spanish water companies are leaders in innovation and have a widespread international reputation.
High quality visitors
Living up to initial expectations, Iwater received more than 4,000 visitors. In addition, Smart City Expo World Congress and Smart Mobility Congress (with 21,000 visitors from 120 countries), which took place at the same time, created very positive synergies. Many attendees from urban management and public services, city representatives, experts and other professionals also visited Iwater to learn about technologies for improving water management in cities.
The exhibitors were very pleased with the quality of the contacts made at the fair. The companies which took part also highlighted the wide variety of professional profiles, as well as the increase in visitors from abroad, compared to the first edition.
In the field of internationalization, it is worth mentioning the 500 business meetings held between the exhibitors and the delegations from 10 countries, directly invited by the organization. These were aimed at boosting exports of Spanish water cycle products, services and technology.
What’s more, with the aim of promoting networking, business partnership agreements and technology transfer, the Trade Fair also hosted the Water Market Europe, organised by the European Water Technology Platform (Wsstp). This was a day involving short presentations about digital water transition and bilateral meetings in which 50 SMEs, start-ups, investors, universities, technology centres and representatives of cities within the framework of the Brokerage Event participated, organized by Acció, and shared with Smart City Expo World Congress, with 400 attendees.
The President of the Iwater Organizing Committee, and Managing Director of MAT Holding, Pau Relat, highlighted “the excellent feedback received during the trade fair, due to the quality of what was on offer, the standard of professional contacts made and the proposals presented, that establish Iwater as an essential industry event”. Relat also highlights that “Iwater perfectly reflected the innovation of Spanish companies in the water industry and their high international positioning”.
At the same time, Iwater laid the foundations to increase the convening power of the trade fair in countries of the Mediterranean basin for future editions, with the signing of an agreement with the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), for the 2020 Mediterranean Water Forum.
Knowledge, technology and R+D+i
In relation to knowledge and analysis of the main challenges facing the industry, Iwater provided several arenas, such as the InnoHub and the TechHub. Around 60 proposals were presented, including innovative solutions, R+D+I projects and technology applied to all the processes of the integral water cycle, to ensure supply in sufficient quality and quantity for different uses within the framework of the new paradigm of the circular economy. Furthermore, the Iwater Stories series of conferences discussed issues such as opportunities for the industry on foreign markets, the transition to digital water, the importance of sustainability in the industry and the Prima programme for sustainable agriculture which is resilient to hydric stress in the Mediterranean. It is estimated that 850 people attended the hub sessions and Iwater Stories.
In addition, Iwater included the ninth edition of the Water Economy Forum, a University of Alcalá initiative which analysed the importance of water security, the digital revolution in water services, the financing of infrastructure and sanitation and the regulation of water and water services in cities. Fifteen speakers, including Miguel Ángel Moratinos, current President of the Spanish Sustainable Development Network (REDS), Dustin Garrick, Director of the Oxford Water Network at Oxford University and Oriana Romano, OCDE analyst, participated in this event, attended by around 200 people.
Other activities
Another of the trade fair’s outstanding events was the Iwater Awards, awarded to Sofrel Lacroix for the 4.0 tele-management system. Sofrel S4W; for its 4.0 technological solution which allows meters to be read remotely, thanks to the use of the Narrow Band-IoT communication standard; and Socamex for its Smart Plant R+D+i project, aimed at the renovation of waste water treatment plants. These proposals were the most outstanding among the hundred or so projects presented in categories including best product, solution and research in the water industry, respectively.
The guided visits, coordinated by the Catalan Water Agency, to several infrastructures in the metropolitan area were also well-attended. These included the Prat de Llobregat Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), the control centre of the municipal company Barcelona Cicle de l’Aigua S.A. (BCASA), Joan Miró Park’s rain-water deposit in Barcelona and the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Rubí. 80 people took part in these visits.
Iwater had backing from the main professional associations in the Spanish water industry, as well as decisive support from the International Water Association, IWA, which recognises the trade fair as the industry’s benchmark event in our country.
The next edition of Iwater will take place in 2020.
Barcelona, 21 November 2018