The annual Texas Water Conference returned to in-person this year, and many of my coworkers and I were fortunate enough to attend. From a 5K to exhibit halls and technical presentations, we had plenty of opportunities to learn and network with our peers. During the fun and collaboration, the BGE team took away a lot of valuable information that I believe is noteworthy and important to share with engineers in various service lines.
Below, I’ve outlined a few of our biggest takeaways from Texas Water 2022.
Resiliency of Water and Wastewater Facilities in the State is Essential
Taking steps to ensure our water sources can withstand winter storms was a focal point that stood out to my coworker Kate Hallaway during a technical presentation she attended.
Texas and heat are nearly synonymous, so it’s understandable why extreme winter storms haven’t been top of mind when it comes to protecting water and wastewater facilities in the state. Texas’ current infrastructure can manage the effects of hurricanes but is vulnerable to prolonged freezing weather. Although it’s not common in Texas, weather patterns are changing, and the Lone Star State is not exempt from the impact.
The recent winter storm that hit the state caused considerable damage to infrastructure, which shined a spotlight on the need for enhancements. Several of our peers, including our team members Lizanne Douglas and Matt McCracken, addressed the issue at the conference.
Technology, Technology, Technology
As expected, technology and its various uses and benefits were an integral part of the conversation. Some of the most interesting applications of technology that stood out to me include:
Performing hydraulic modeling of lakes to determine the impact human activity has on the quality of water going to pump stations;
Using REVIT 3D modeling for client walkthroughs at the design phase of projects;
And using GIS services to improve efficiency in maintaining large quantities of infrastructure assets.
Thanks to my coworker Steven Thai, I also learned how technology aided in re-evaluating a traditional method of pipe rehabilitation in sewer projects. In a technical presentation he attended, representatives from the San Antonio Water System shared their findings on using cured-in-place pipe for sewer projects. They found that although it helped structurally, it wasn’t as good as traditional open-cut or pipe bursting methods against inflow and infiltration. This was a great takeaway because learning which practices stand the test of time is just as important as learning what techniques we can improve.
Virtual meetings and conferences helped keep us all connected during challenging times and will always be useful. However, in-person attendance for large conferences and networking opportunities are always exciting and makes sharing information much easier. The conference had a record-breaking attendance count this year, and it was clear that everyone enjoyed being in person from start to finish.
This takeaway isn’t technical or industry-specific, but it’s important because it signals a return to normal for conferences and workshops. Moving around, socializing and attending different educational presentations helped me retain more information. Considering sharing information is one of the primary goals for these events, I’ll say that’s pretty important!
Texas Water is a renowned conference in the state, and we highly encourage you to attend if you’re in the industry. Our takeaways are a small sample of what is shared every year. From new trends to policy updates and groundbreaking technology, you’ll come away from the event a better professional every year. Now that we can attend in person again, we hope to see you in Houston next year!