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Interview: Search for solutions for a world with nine billion people

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Interview with Roelof Kruize, CEO Waternet and Co chair Managing Board Amsterdam International Water Week 
Published in The Source (Issue 7, May 2017), the magazine of the International Water Association

The title chosen for this year’s Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW) conference appears simple, but it captures the scale of the challenge around what is one of the crucial global issues: ‘Water… and 9 billion people’. This use of the projected global population for 2050 underlines the need for new approaches. “It means we have to change our policies, we have to look to reuse of water, we have to look to create a circular economy,” said Roelof Kruize, CEO of Waternet, the Amsterdam water utility, and a member of the managing board of Amsterdam International Water Week. Urban populations are set to swell further, so Kruize points to other types of action–making cities rainproof, and adapting to climate change. “This ‘9 billion people’ is very important for the topics we want to show and discuss at the AIWW,” he added.

The goal of AIWW is to provide visitors with answers to the questions they face in their working lives. Kruize will be looking for exactly this himself. “As CEO of Waternet, I am hoping to get some new ideas on the questions I am busy with every day”


This year’s event will be the fourth in the biennial series. The core concept this time is to have participants provide input to finding solutions for specific cases. More than this, the intention is to build a community that will work on the cases between this event and the next. “We aim to form coalitions to help solve certain cases and certain themes. That’s quite unique, I think,” said Kruize. The goal of AIWW is to provide visitors with answers to the questions they face in their working lives. Kruize will be looking for exactly this himself. “As CEO of Waternet, I am hoping to get some new ideas on the questions I am busy with every day.” He encourages those working in water utilities, cities and industry to come in search of their own answers, and notes that there is already commitment for high-level participation from around the world. “The response we have had so far makes me very enthusiastic,” he said.

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