My Journey to the AIWW 2023: Solving Real-Life Water Cases with Wetskills



Wetskills-The Netherlands, 9 November 2023 (by Zahraa Al Goybar, IHE Delft) 

Wetskills is an interesting program that challenges young water professionals and students from different countries and backgrounds to work together on real-life water cases. The program aims to foster innovation, creativity, and collaboration in the water sector, as well as to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

I decided to participate in Wetskills-The Netherlands 2023 because I wanted to learn more about the water challenges and opportunities. I also wanted to meet and network with other passionate and talented water enthusiasts from different disciplines and cultures. Moreover, I was excited to present our case solution at the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW) 2023.

I had high expectations for this experience, as I hoped to gain new insights, skills and perspectives on water, climate, and sustainability. I was also looking forward to having fun and making new friends along the way. I was curious and eager to see what Wetskills had in store for me.

The journey started by arriving in Rotterdam and joining the team, where I met the other participants, who came from 11 countries with diverse backgrounds, such as engineering, hydrology, environmental science, and policy. Then, we formed our teams based on the water cases that we chose to work on. I chose a case about the reuse of water for industry, which was sponsored by Waternet. We had the opportunity to discuss our case and brainstormed some initial ideas and questions with experts who represent the case studies owners.

One of the site visits that we participated in was to The Green Village, a field lab for sustainable innovation in the urban environment at TU Delft Campus12. There, we saw various projects and experiments that aimed to address the water challenges and climate adaptation and sustainability issues in the Netherlands. For example, we learned about the green roof that collects rainwater, and nature sheds that provides habitat for insects.

Our team at Wetskills – The Netherlands 2023 spent six intense days crafting a visionary value case. Our challenge: reimagine the industrial landscape of the Amsterdam port by transitioning from freshwater to the innovative reuse of treated wastewater. Environmental, social, and financial considerations intertwined as we painted a sustainable future. The Finals and Awarding Ceremony was the culmination of our efforts. We had to present our solutions to a jury of experts and a large audience at the AIWW 2023. When it was our turn to present, we took a deep breath and went on stage. We knew our case inside out. We used a two minutes pitch and a poster to showcase our solution. We also answered the questions from the jury and the audience, and we tried to convince them of the value and potential of our case. We were happy and proud of ourselves and our team, and we thanked our case owner for their enthusiasm and guidance.

The Finals and Awarding Ceremony was the highlight of our Wetskills journey. We learned that Wetskills is not just a program, but a community and a family. We felt grateful and honored to be part of it. No trip to Amsterdam is truly fulfilled without embarking on a captivating canal tour, an essential experience that unveils the city’s enchanting beauty from a unique and picturesque perspective

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