South Africa and Denmark Young Water Professionals facilitate the conversation on water resource recovery modelling

Young Water Professionals from around the world joined forces to organise a full-day workshop at the recent IWA Water Resource Recovery Modelling Seminar (WRRMOD2022+) in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 18-22 January 2023. Co-chaired by Eugene Fotso Simo (National Coordination Lead – Water Institute of Southern Africa – YWP & Zutari, South Africa) and Nerea Uri Carreño (Chair of IWA-YWP Denmark & VCS Denmark), the workshop organising committee was exclusively composed of YWPs from around the world, including Cameroon, Nigeria, Denmark, South Africa, USA, Canada, Rwanda, Togo, Tanzania and more.  

The Resource Recovery Seminar was organised by the University of Cape Town’s Water Research Group (WRG) with Prof David Ikumi as the Organising Chair, and with the support of The International Water Association (IWA) and the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA). WRRMOD2022+ brought together leading global actors in the modelling field to discuss advances in the modelling of Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRF) and to build consensus on debated topics such as digital twins and the validation and calibration of models.  

Kicking off the seminar, the YWP workshop on 18 January consisted of presentations and sessions from junior professionals at the forefront of modelling across the globe. The workshop went through the development and evolution of models in a chronological sequence. The main themes covered were: 

  • Origins and advancements of wastewater treatment plant modelling 
  • The transition from modelling of treatment to resource recovery and full-scale applications 
  • Future of WRRF modelling 
  • YWP’s vision for WRRF modelling 

The main takeaways from YWPs after this knowledge-packed workshop were as follows: 

  • The context will be crucial in the development of models in the future 
  • Information sharing will be the new norm amongst practitioners and researchers
  • With the technological advances in modelling and digital water, cybersecurity must be implemented to avoid risks
  • To improve models and facilities, better stakeholder engagement is needed as part of the model development process

Having a full-day workshop planned, executed, and fully run by YWPs helped them gain significant skills. The workshop was also an opportunity to create a global community of YWP modellers, with the hope of continuing interactions and engagements as part of this dynamic group of modellers in the future.  

The rest of the seminar was made up of workshops, platform presentations and poster presentations. Some of the topics covered included: 

  • Water reuse modelling 
  • Hybrid models 
  • Digital twins 
  • CFD models and more…

Over a hundred participants attended the seminar, which was an overall success with excellent feedback.

Eugene Fotso Simo

Water Engineer, Zutari
Native of Cameroon, Eugene holds a BSc in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Water Quality Engineering from the University of Cape Town. He currently serves as the YWP National Coordination Lead in South Africa. He joined Zutari in 2020 as a junior wate... Read full biography