This year RAA sent one of the largest contingents in our history of sponsoring the event to the CIWEM UDG Autumn event in Blackpool, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to share our experiences and thoughts on the 3 day conference and exhibition.
Kerry Foster and Richard Allitt co-wrote a paper on combining the worlds of rural and urban hydrology which examines the concept of combining fluvial and urban hydrology methodologies in one hydraulic model, which should be well advanced and readily used and yet there is little or no guidance on approaching this. Despite being the first presentation of the session on the Thursday morning following the previous evening’s dinner, the topic was well received and led nicely into the rest of the session that provoked some thoughtful discussion.
Hanna Kugachandran and Lydia Crowther have been with us for over a year as graduate hydraulic modellers, and stepped in when RAA were offered the opportunity to give an exhibitor presentation in the lunchtime break on Wednesday. Drawing on their experiences of CIWEM events over the last year, Hanna and Lydia gave an inspiring overview of their activities and involvement spanning a number of events which tied in very well with the workshop held later that afternoon focusing on CIWEM membership.
Hanna found the presentation sparked a great amount of interest during the networking sessions in Blackpool. She says “The Regional Big Bang event that RAA collaborated with CIWEM on was a talking point with many people at various levels of membership being unaware of the variety of events that a CIWEM member can get involved with. Generally, when you think of your professional body, you mostly think about your CPD or applying for chartership. For someone who is relatively new to the industry and needs a few more years of experience before thinking about applying for chartership, getting involved with large conferences such as the Autumn UDG conference and Big Bang keeps me highly motivated to learn more. Not only this, sponsored CIWEM events such as the “Celebrating Women In Engineering’ that encourage an inclusive and supportive industry inspires me to get even more involved!”
Both Hanna and Lydia have taken active roles in their route to membership with Hanna being on the UDG New Members Group committee and Lydia joining the CIWEM young professionals group. Both enjoyed the networking opportunities at the Blackpool event which allowed them to further develop relationships within the urban drainage industry.
Lydia said “UDG 18 was a great way to meet other industry professionals and make new connections. I particularly enjoyed the sessions titled “Rainfall, runoff, DWF and infiltration” and “Solving Flooding”. These were both held on the Thursday and covered some very interesting and ‘hot topics’ in the industry. To me these sessions had the most engaging talks, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of this event as I have learnt so much from attending.”
John Hilson was also in attendance at the event for the first time since joining RAA as Director back in August. John is currently in the process of setting up RAA’s northern office which we were pleased to be promoting at the event with our #GrowWithRAA campaign. The sessions on DWMP’s were particularly interesting with John commenting “DWMPs are going to be key for the water industry in the next few years, and the papers covered a wide range of issues which will need to be considered during their development.”
It was new graduate modeller Rhitu Giri’s first time at the conference and she had this to say about the experience; ‘It was a wonderful experience for me to get to see and listen to many influential figures and to be exposed to the much wider world of the urban drainage industry. The programme was very varied and gave me a very good sense and understanding of where my work and training as a hydraulic modeller sits within the bigger picture of the urban drainage landscape.’
We were also very pleased that our plant pouches went down well with many delegates telling us how they were looking forward to taking them home to grow. Make sure you take a photo and post to twitter with the hashtag #GrowWithRAA so that we can see your progress!