The longest running water conference in the world will return to a city bordered by water to its east — Chicago. More than 12,000 water experts will be in the area for the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE16), June 19-22. The event will feature 111 sessions and an exposition with more than 500 companies.

Cynthia Lane, director of education and technical services for AWWA, said this is will be the most comprehensive ACE program to date. 

“We truly are exploring solutions for the entire water sector — from asset management to water loss to cyanotoxins,” she said. “Experts are gathering to share their knowledge, and the attendees are excited to learn from others.”

During the opening session on June 20, The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore will give the keynote address. Cantore has reported on every major weather event during the past 25 years as well as the effects of climate change and the power of water. Following his talk,
Cantore will be in the AWWA Pavilion in Booth 547 to talk to attendees.

“The special keynote sessions …  provide an opportunity for in-depth and free-flowing conversations around some of the most important topics facing the water sector,” Lane said. “This year, the majority of those will focus on lead service line management programs.”

During the Water Industry Luncheon, comedian Jay Mohr of “Jerry McGuire” fame will add humor to the lineup. He hosts radio show “Jay Mohr Sports” on Fox Sports Radio and wrote the book Gasping for Airtime. After speaking, Mohr will be available to talk to attendees in the AWWA Bookstore in Booth 1347.

Throughout the week, more than 1,000 expert speakers will lead 19 tracks of professional programs on global water issues. For the first time, an entire track will be dedicated to financing water infrastructure. As always, the tracks are designed to cover all the leading issues such as lead, water loss, cyanotoxins and data management, as well as more traditional challenges that water utilities deal with every day. These include optimizing water treatment processes, regulatory compliance and work-
force development.


June 19–22
McCormick Place West
Chicago, Illinois
Exposition Hours:
Monday, June 20: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 21: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 22: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Also during the conference and exposition, attendees can take part in wastewater collection and treatment system sessions, visit the Career Center Job Fair, attend poster sessions, visit the Innovation Lounge, watch competitions and see a fire hydrant assembled under timed pressure in a Hydrant Hysteria demonstration.

“The competitions — Meter Madness, Pipe Tapping, Top Ops and Best of the Best Taste Tests — are also a lot of fun and offer some levity to the week for our attendees,” Lane said.

Tours will be offered of local water treatment plants, pumping stations and an aquarium for $55, and registration, which can be completed online, is filling up quickly. Each tour lasts four to five hours in the morning or afternoon. Daylong workshops include topics such as algal activity, water loss control, water main rehabilitation and real-time hydraulic monitoring.

Established in 1881, AWWA is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water. The organization has approximately 50,000 members and seeks to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance quality of life.