Planning to Attend a Water Conference in 2019? Read This

3 Dec 2018  |  Reese Tisdale

The positive feedback and interest in Bluefield Research’s analysis of WEFTEC 2018’s conference proceedings have compelled our team to look further into other water & wastewater conferences, influencers and themes.

This past week, Bluefield released, The U.S. Water Conference Landscape: Focus, Themes, and Corporate Influencers, 2018 to our Insight Service clients. This Data Insight is a valuable tool for marketing officers and teams addressing water as a business. We analyzed 11 of the largest national and regional conferences, including 2,600 presentations, 1500 companies, and 5,600 authors. This information can be used to support marketing and conference agendas, as you lay outyour 2019 event strategies.

Conferences represent a critical platform for companies– suppliers, service providers, and utilities– to take the pulse of the market, shape their future strategies and position their offerings in a changing landscape. Equally valuable, and demonstrated by the corporate influencers’ oversized role, is the marketing opportunity. Authors and presenters come to show off their experiences and capabilities to potential customers, such as system operators.

For more highlights and specific analysis of the conferences, see our 40 slide Data Insight. Some of the key takeaways include:

  • Wastewater opportunities continue to grow in messaging.  Wastewater’s increasingly important role as the most innovative water segment, as seen with water reuse, have put it center stage as this year’s conferences.
  • Engineering firms control the messaging. Nine of the top 10 companies ranked by authorship are engineering firms, further highlighting their pivotal roles in municipal water and wastewater utility decision-making.
  • Eight industry professionals authored 99 papers and presentations. Our bottom-up analysis uncovers messaging leaders at the title
  • The conversation at this year’s conferences was overwhelming centered around technology. Well over half of proceedings focused primarily on technology whether it be treatment chemicals, greenfield development, or digital water meters. Proceedings focusing on economics, policy, and business model and strategy made up less than a quarter of proceedings. 
  • Top 50 companies ranked authored 52% of all of the proceedings. For a highly fragmented market, a select few control the messaging.

Immediately apparent is just how dominant players engineering firms like Brown and Caldwell and Jacobs are in the conference proceedings.  The impact of these mostly US-based engineering firms is highlighted in the following exhibit that weighs the companies by number of presentations authored relative to others.

Representation of Companies in U.S. Water Conference Proceeding Authorship

Source: Bluefield Research

Where does Bluefield fit in?

Companies approaching water as a business are often challenged by a lack of high quality, reliable intelligence to back their business decisions. At conferences, in discussions with clients, at board meetings and corporate dinners, our team of water experts share our unique insights on water, wastewater, stormwater, and digital market opportunities across the municipal and industrial water sectors.

At the forefront of our discussions, which are driven by client interests, is a focus on: digital waterwastewater reuse, decentralized treatment, alternative wastewater revenue streams, and data.  We see sizing key markets, business model deployments, and strategies to overcome employee attrition and aging assets as some of the sector’s biggest challenges and critical to improving municipal and industrial water and wastewater infrastructure.

For this reason, marketing executives and directors from companies across the industry value chain– including the ranked engineering firms and vendors– rely on Bluefield’s suite of industry-specific research services to address critical questions, strengthen strategic planning, and see beyond the traditional technology analysis.

To learn more about our analysis, or to request analysis on a specific water market conference, please email us at