Events. The International Water Association Regional Conference on Water Reuse and Energy as well as the Water Expo Korea 2014 were held concurrently in Daegu from October 21st-24th. The two events converged on Daegu to further prepare it to host next year’s World Water Forum, the foremost international gathering of the water industry. This year’s IWA conference was hosted by the IWA Water Reuse Specialist Group, The Korean Society of Environmental Engineers and the Daegu Metropolitan City of Korea. The Daegu Metropolitan City and Gyeong-buk province co-hosted the Water Expo.
The Conference emphasized the academic and theoretical side of the water industry while the EXPO highlighted the commercial and practical. In conjunction, the two events give each other greater exposure and provide a broader look at the industry as a whole for attendees. The IWA Regional Conference saw participants from 30 countries in excess of 300 people. The assemblage of leading minds and researchers featured presentations on a variety of water-related topics. The water-energy nexus was at the forefront of the conference. Reuse and greater environmental responsibility were also recurring themes.
Like the Conference, the Korea Water Expo focused on environmental responsibility but did so with greater emphasis on business and tangible applications. The EXPO is an annual event and this year marked its third iteration. The rapidly growing event showcases the latest and greatest technological developments while also facilitating networking and symbiotic business relationships. The simultaneously held water events are reflective of the strides and progress Daegu has made in becoming a global hub of the water industry. In 2013, Daegu was selected to be home to a massive water industry cluster as part of a greater 5-year plan. The 165,000 square meter cluster will be built from 2013-2017 at an estimated cost of 351.9 billion won (US$329.4 million). The 5-year plan is part of a broader infrastructure expansion effort. The formation of this water cluster will draw new companies and to the region and expand upon those already here. An abundance of natural and educational resources will also help it become a beacon for the rest of the nation’s water industry.
Hosting the Conference, EXPO and forming a water industry cluster have also paved the wave for even larger events and global attention. In 2015, the 7th World Water Forum Expo and Fair will come to Daegu from April 12th-17th. Held every three years, the World Water Forum is the largest gathering of water leaders in the world. Next year’s conference will mark the Forum’s first trip to Asia in over a decade. The conference is expecting 35,000 participants from 170 countries. The global event will have a strong local impact. Companies in the region will be given major exposure on the world water stage. Korea’s relatively small role in the overseas water industry should improve with the numerous opportunities afforded by hosting the conference in combination with its already implemented 5-year plan. Overall, Daegu is making significant and rapid strides to becoming a water industry hub on not only a national stage, but a global one as well.