On 7–8 November, Ostrava is hosting a major conference: Ostrava Water and Sewer Management 2017, organized for the fifteenth time by the Czech Association for Water and Sewer Management. The first conference in the series was held in the town of Tábor in 2003, and in the following years the event was hosted by a range of other towns and cities (Brno, České Budějovice, Hradec Králové, Karlovy Vary, Liberec, Olomouc, Ostrava, Prague, Poděbrady, Plzeň). Ostrava has hosted the conference once already (in 2011), and this year it is the city’s turn once again.

The Czech Republic is the European leader in water and sewer management, achieving outstanding results across numerous indicators including excellent drinking water quality, low levels of water losses from the pipeline network, and cutting-edge technological innovations. The two-day conference will present modern technologies which help increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve the quality of the services provided to customers. These solutions include Smart Metering (a system enabling water meters to be read remotely), Ice Pigging (a method of cleaning pipes using ice slush), and a real-time mathematical model of the water network with an automated control system and ongoing updates from the geographical information system (GIS) and the customer information system. The conference programme also includes presentations on the latest legislation and policy documents, including the Drought Impacts Protection Concept and the Czech Republic’s Strategic Framework 2030. Representatives of two ministries (Environment and Agriculture) will present new legislation on waste management and drinking water hygiene. Current topics also include benchmarking for operators and owners of water management infrastructure, personal data protection and cybersecurity; these will also be discussed at the conference.

In upcoming years, much effort will focus on tasks related to drought management – especially the currently inadequate system of rainwater drainage in the Czech Republic (in most cases rainwater is channelled through a single sewerage system to waste water treatment plants, or via separate systems directly into watercourses), the need to make better use of treated waste water, and the creation of drought plans. Other changes will include improvements to the currently inadequate system for financing water management. Legislative changes affecting the management of sludge produced as a byproduct of the water treatment process have brought new challenges for the further utilization of this material. Interest in water management as a career among young people is declining, so one of the Association’s goals for the future is to raise public awareness of the profession and run educational programmes which will ensure that a new generation of water management specialists takes the profession forward.

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