Dr. Glen Daigger shares highlights from his trip to Romania where he learned more about the country’s efforts to upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure. 

By Dr. Glen Daigger, International Water Association President and CH2M HILL Senior Vice President and Chief Water Technology Officer

Patty and I are wrapping up our European trip. We made a stop in Romania to attend the Danube-Black Sea Forum, which the International Water Association is co-sponsoring with the Romanian Water Association. The Forum received its title because Transylvania is the Northern Province of Romania. I learned there was indeed a historical figure named Dracula, who was a nobleman and protector of Transylvania during the period when the Ottomans from Turkey set out to conquer Europe. Vicious times. Dracula and his son, Vlad the Impaler, were ardent defenders of their homeland and opponents of the Turks. We actually got to visit their castle!

But, on to water, which is also a very interesting story. Romania is preparing for accession to the European Union (EU) and is upgrading its water and wastewater infrastructure. Because of its central location in the Danube-Black Sea region, the country is clearly a regional leader for the water profession. However, one of the problems they face is the inability to “adsorb” (the term used in “European speak”) the EU funds to upgrade their infrastructure. In other words, they have not been able to effectively spend the available funds fast enough.

From my interactions with the professionals from the Romanian utilities, I can tell you that they are knowledgeable and competent. If you want to observe the birth of an industry and a profession, come to Romania. It is truly something to behold.

Read all of Dr. Daigger’s travelogues.