This year’s WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference, lived up to its reputation as the water sector's leading marketplace for transformative ideas and innovations.
WEF convened thousands of attendees from all over the globe, representing municipalities, engineering firms, manufacturers, environmental organizations, and academia to share knowledge, explore cutting-edge technologies, and collaborate on creating a life free of water challenges, the WEF vision.
WEFTEC 2023, the 96th edition of the event, included attractions like drones flying in a new, dedicated pavilion and a unique Opening General Session (OGS) that used music, storytellers, and photography to celebrate water, people, and community.
“In this year’s Opening General Session, we wanted to explore ideas about who’s part of the water community, how we engage with that community, and how we create and deliver solutions that effect positive change,” said Ifetayo Venner, 2022-2023 president of WEF’s Board of Trustees.
Both registrant and exhibitor numbers were back to pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2019. Key highlights from this year’s event included the following:
- Slightly more than 21,000 registrants
- 870 exhibiting companies
- Nearly 260,000 ft2 of exhibits
- Largest ever Operations Challenge competition with 55 teams from 7 countries
- 550 Global Center delegates from 30+ countries
- 15% international attendees
- Technical program with 17 sold-out workshops, 136 technical sessions, and 650+ speakers/facilitators/moderators
- 65 presentations at the Innovation Pavilion and Sustainable Development Goals theater
- 120 innovative thought leaders and 60+ utility C-level executives discussing the Circular Water Economy
- More than 20 community/focus group meetings
- WEF’s new PFAS in the Water and Wastewater Sectors: Fundamentals, Management, and Treatment publication sold out
- Water Palooza student activity day at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy
- Rain garden/flood mitigation service project at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy
- Cradles to Crayons: 3,000 hygiene kits assembled and gifted to local organizations, including Chicago Public Schools, New Life Centers, Big Shoulders Fund, and Northwest Center Chicago
- Blessings in a Backpack: 500 food bags gifted to low-income students
- Open Books: both cash and in-kind donations of children’s books
“This year’s WEFTEC was bigger and bolder than ever, and the energy among attendees was palpable,” said Aimeé Killeen, WEF’s 2023-2024 Board of Trustees president. “It was wonderful to be back in Chicago with so many of our colleagues and friends. We’re excited to see the many efforts those in the water sector are making to improve human and environmental well-being.”
Stay engaged beyond WEFTEC with the water sector community, by joining WEF today.
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of more than 30,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Established in 1928, WEF’s mission is to inspire the water community in pursuit of human and environmental well-being. WEF’s goals are to attract and develop a passionate workforce, cultivate a purpose-driven community to sustainably solve water challenges for all, and lead the transformation to the circular water economy. Learn more at wef.org.