From 2 - 4 November 2016, participants in the IB2015 benchmarking exercise for Western Europe gathered in Poznan, Poland for the 10th edition of the annual benchmarking workshop. Over 84 utility representatives from around Europe and beyond, including delegations from regional benchmarking hubs in the Danube region participated in an open and constructive atmosphere, with a clear spirit of collaboration and taking lessons from colleagues.
Aquanet SA (http://www.aquanet.pl/) the water- and wastewater company for Poznan, kindly offered to host and sponsor this year’s workshop in the fifth largest city of Poland. Over 80 representatives from 18 different countries gathered in Poznan, to discuss the benchmarking results and share good practices. In the inspirational and industrial setting of a completely renovated old printing house the group went through an intensive program.
After a warm welcome and brief introduction by Pawel Chudziński, President of the Management Board of Aquanet SA it was time for Peter Dane, managing director of EBC, to set the scene: “this is our 10th edition and it is time to raise the bar!” Today, it is not enough anymore to supply safe drinking water and collect and treat wastewater in a way that it prevents problems to the environment. Stakeholders expect more from us: utilities should be well managed, climate resilient, provide a sustainable service and contribute to the circular economy and inform their customers in a transparent way, using modern communication technologies. EBC wants to assist utilities in reaching these goals and therefore focus more on the improvement stage of the benchmarking process.
After Peter's welcome address the participants spread over several parallel sessions in which the assessment of the draft reports and results took a central role. From the afternoon onwards the focus slowly shifted towards sharing good practices and improvement measures.
After a short feedback session from the moderators of day 1, Marco Beros (European Investment Bank) addressed the view of the EIB on how water- and wastewater utilities could increase their climate resilience. Marco Beros was followed by Henrik Frier (Aarhus A/S, Denmark) who inspired the audience with a presentation on the transition from energy consumption to energy production at their wastewater treatment plants. The second day was completed with parallel sessions on good practices and knowledge sharing.
During the workshop there were several opportunities for networking and possibilities to learn from each other’s challenges, good practices and experiences. These opportunities were very much appreciated by the participants and seen as an important part of the workshop.
At the traditional workshop dinner, the Benchmarking Co-ordinator of the Year Award was handed to Paulina Bęcek-Cichuta (MPWIK Wroclaw) and to Lise Tarp Johansen (HOFOR). The EBC-team congratulates the winners of this year’s award and encourages them to continue their good work!
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