October 14, 2020 SDGs

We are ready for you in May 2021 – #WorldWaterCongress

In October 2020, thousands of water professionals, colleagues and friends were to convene in Copenhagen. We were ready to share with you how we achieved bathing water in our harbour, how we combine climate change adaptation with urban liveability and how we keep water leakage consistently at a low level of just 6-8%. However, the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic means we’ll have to wait until May next year.

We need you at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark: We are planning huge investments within both water supply, groundwater protection, wastewater management, and adaptation to heavy rainfalls. We are in need of your ideas and experiences to make the best decisions in our aim to create sustainable, smart, and liveable cities.

The congress will address the Critical Objectives and Strategic Goals of IWA 2019-24 as well as HOFOR’s new business strategy 2020-25. I was pleased to notice the strong alignment between the strategy of IWA and what we strive to achieve here at HOFOR. We will promote membership for the congress participants, who are not members and for stakeholders from producers of water technology. Leading-edge knowledge will be shared and I look forward to hearing about innovation that can bring us into the near future and of course about business models, e.g. for implementing Nature-Based Solutions.

The congress is per IWA tradition a great space for water professionals to exchange their knowledge. We will assist in providing the best possible environment for that. As a water utility, we operate in the areas of both research and practice. We have to understand the results of research and bring it into our investment and operation of water infrastructure. Finally, the congress promotes understanding of how to implement the SDGs. This is something that I especially look forward to, because our new business strategy is about contributing even further to the water- and climate-related SDGs as well as several other SDGs.

The last six months of our membership of IWA have shown its huge value: Our professionals have been joining the many webinars, which have proven to be the best possible replacements for meeting in person. Another good example of IWA’s fast adaptation to unexpected developments was the forming of the COVID-19 task force right from the beginning when the disease became a pandemic. Testing of wastewater at wastewater treatment plants as an early warning tool is now taking place worldwide and here in Copenhagen testing more locally is now being developed. In March, HOFOR immediately rearranged its operation of critical water infrastructure reducing the probability of outbreaks among operational staff. So far, we have had no COVID-19 positive operational staff.

In addition, we answered the IWA COVID-19 Task Force survey and look forward to hearing of more experiences from other utilities.

Since March, it has been made clear once again, that water infrastructure is critical to public health and it is my sincere hope that all of you who want to join the World Water Congress can come to Copenhagen in May 2021 to share and enjoy meeting in person, and of course be captured by our liveable city.

Watch a short presentation of one of HOFORs many climate change adaption projects in the Danish capitol – ‘Enghaveparken’, made in close collaboration with Copenhagen Municipality.




Lars Therkildsen

CEO at HOFOR (Greater Copenhagen Water Utility)
Lars Therkildsen is CEO of HOFOR – Greater Copenhagen Utility, the biggest multi-utility company in Denmark. It is owned by eight municipalities in the metropolitan area of Copenhagen. HOFOR distributes drinking water to around 1 million consumers,... Read full biography