"We are selecting the best presentations from 323 abstracts"

Miguel Sanz, chair of the technical program for IDA World Congress 2017, introduces the main themes and highlights to look forward to at this year’s event in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

What are the themes of the technical program?
The theme of IDA World Congress 2017 is ‘Water Reuse & Desalination: Ensure Your Water Future’. Both are essential to ensure a sustainable water supply now and for future generations. Water reuse will have an important role in this World Congress, the first in Latin America. Water reuse and desalination for municipal or industrial applications are at the heart of the IDA World Congress 2017 technical program. And we will hold sessions devoted to regional experiences to underline how water reuse and desalination are helping Latin America to develop economic sectors.

Who will be speaking at Congress?
We are working on the technical program and selecting the speakers for 28 technical sessions. The session co-chairs are selecting the best from 323 abstracts that were accepted for either oral or digital poster presentations. We will also invite high-profile speakers for other sessions, either from the selected papers or by direct invitation; some of them are from Latin America.

What are among the most important technical topics?
It is quite difficult to select, but I would like to call attention to the role of membranes in pretreatment of desalination as well as their importance in water reuse.

What are the most innovative topics?
Innovation is at the heart of sessions on membrane and thermal technologies, as well as new materials and other trends. Energy efficiency in desalination is a topic for which we received a good number of abstracts, and it will be one of the highlight sessions. Coupling desalination and renewable energy is one of my own favourite topics, and we received a lot of abstracts on it.

Which of the discussions do you expect to be the most lively?
There will be nine to 12 panels and roundtables, each of 60 to 90 minutes. Propositions are being analysed and discussed with the technical program committee to select the topics we believe will be the most interesting. These may be technical subjects – direct or indirect drinking water reuse; governance, procurement and financing; regulations. Some will cover regional trends, including one devoted to Brazil, while other panels will link academia and research. Several roundtables will be organised in collaboration with organisations such as the World Bank, Unesco and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

How can people find out more details?
The best way is to visit the IDA World Congress 2017 website, which provides continuously updated information. In April 2017 we will announce the final selections for sessions and papers.

Miguel Sanz is chair of IDA World Congress 2017 technical program, and director of strategic development at Suez