Q&A: 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium

Jan. 25, 2022

WWD interviews Patricia Sinicropi, executive director of the WateReuse Association

About the author:

Bob Crossen is the senior managing editor for Water & Wastes Digest. Crossen can be reached at [email protected].

The WateReuse Association will present the 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium March 6 to 9, 2022 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas. Most of the Symposium will also be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing on the WateReuse virtual conference platform. 

In the lead up to the symposium, WWD Senior Managing Editor Bob Crossen spoke with WateReuse Executive Director Patricia Sinicropi about the event and what lies ahead for the fast growing water reuse sector.

What is the WateReuse Symposium?

Bob Crossen: Could you describe the WateReuse Symposium for those who are unfamiliar?

Patricia Sinicropi: The Annual WateReuse Symposium is the premier conference dedicated to helping communities build resilience through water recycling. We have a really comprehensive program that covers virtually every aspect of water recycling from technology and innovation to policy and communications. Our collaboration with the Water Research Foundation in planning the event also means that we are able to include sessions that highlight leading edge water reuse research. 

The San Antonio Riverwalk is the perfect backdrop for our return to in-person Symposia. San Antonio is a long-time leader in reuse and we’ll get to tour local facilities and hear from local leaders. Since 2020, we have also developed and tested a robust virtual environment for the conference. So we’re able to offer two great experiences: the in-person conference in San Antonio, and a fully virtual conference. Or you can register for both! 

Reasons to Attend the WateReuse Symposium

Crossen: Why should industry professionals attend?

Sinicropi: We have organized this year’s program as a call to action for the water reuse community to address the urgency of our changing Earth including floods, fires, droughts, and pandemics. There are nearly 90 technical sessions, plus a host a plenary panels and workshops. So the WateReuse Symposium is a practical option for utility and business leaders to get the education and training they need to plan, implement, and maintain successful water reuse projects that support economic growth and climate resilience. 

Utility leaders from every corner of the country have already registered to present and attend, including Texas, California, Florida, South Carolina, New York and beyond. The leading consulting firms in the water space will be there as well. This will be our first Symposium with an in-person option since 2019 and the opportunities to connect and network will abound. 

Crossen: What makes this event different from others throughout the year?

Sinicropi: The WateReuse Symposium is laser-focused on the issues facing water recycling today. That means sessions on topics like direct potable reuse, onsite and industrial reuse, technology innovation like carbon-based treatment and advanced oxidation processes, contaminants of emerging concern, and how to achieve the funding and public acceptance needed to reach your reuse goals. You’re going to meet and hear from the most relevant industry experts without being lost in a sea of topics and booths.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funds Water Reuse Efforts

Crossen: What role do you see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (previously known as the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act) having on water reuse initiatives in the next few years?

Sinicropi: WateReuse Association and our members were integral in securing $1 billion for water reuse in the infrastructure bill. That’s a historic high for reuse and it means we’ll be seeing large-scale investments over the next five years. 

Now, we’re focused on making sure that money is put to use right away. WateReuse published a guide to the new funding opportunities, and we will be highlighting this guidance throughout the March Symposium. This includes a special session featuring the EPA, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal agencies involved in directing federal funding.

The Future of Water Reuse

Crossen: How do you see conversations on Water Reuse evolving in 2022?

Sinicropi: This year, the WateReuse Symposium program highlights the trends that we’re seeing in water reuse. One of those is nationwide adoption. Our panel conversation on “Different Drivers, Different Strategy” will highlight how water reuse is not just for the arid West anymore. It features utilities from the East Coast, Midwest, and the South, addressing how water reuse technologies are offering solutions to stormwater management, water quality, industrial demands, and more.

WateReuse Association Goals for 2022

Crossen: What are some 2022 goals for WateReuse Association?

Sinicropi: We’re going all out for our members this year. WateReuse Association is uniquely positioned to help our members benefit from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. And we’ll continue working with partners to advocate for the funding proposed in Congress’ Build Back Better Act: $125 million for the nationwide Alternative Water Source Grants. We will also continue our leadership role on implementing the National Water Reuse Action Plan, alongside the U.S. EPA and other partners. We’re also continuing to grow as a national organization. Our South Carolina Section just launched at the end of 2021 and other states in the mid-Atlantic and the south are looking to establish official WateReuse Sections. Our Texas Section just hired a Managing Director, highlighting the fast growth of water reuse industry in the region. Together with our sections and members at large, we will continue to engage, educate, and advocate for increased adoption of water recycling programs to prepare more communities for the future.