The World Canals Conference took place in Leipzig, Germany from 31 May to 3 June 2022 after an unwelcome break due to covid
Speakers from 20 nations across 4 continents explained how waterways, tourism, regional development, flood and environmental protection and urban renewal can be efficiently promoted. Reflecting the ‘local’ picture, the main topic was TRANSFORMATION – the change from lignite mining to sustainable water landscapes and how water and health can be thought of together.
Amongst the many presentations at the conference, Green WIN’s potential pumping improvements featured in CDM Smith and Waterways Ireland’s presentation which set out issues involved in Sustainable Water Supply for the Ulster Canal Restoration Phase II (Clones)
Catherine Topley, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Canals ‘Approach to Canals and Leisure’ was of great relevance to NIWE and Green WIN partners.
The presentation by Mr Robert Marx, President, German Marine Federation ‘Economic potential of water tourism in Germany’ was also keenly received. His comments “in the last 2 years in particular, water sports have experienced a real boost, especially in the inland area. A functioning infrastructure is the be-all and end-all for sustainable development.” reflected NIWE’s research into post Covid impacts the need to find and sustain ways to capitalise on increased interest witnessed during ‘lockdowns’
“In the last 2 years in particular, water sports have experienced a real boost, especially in the inland area. A functioning infrastructure is the be-all and end-all for sustainable development.”
Another presentation of interest to NIWE members was ‘Open space-oriented urban development – the green-blue infrastructure as a driver in Leipzig’ by Mr Rüdiger Dittmar, from Leipzig’s Office for Green Spaces & Waters. The impacts of lignite mining in and around Leipzig is clearly still around – but there are many examples of how waterways are key places to re-invigorate landscapes.
NIWE Chair, Danny Brennan and Green WIN project manager, Chris Barnett, told delegates how NIWE, as a network promoting co-operation between like-minded inland waterway managers, is supporting projects such as Green WIN, River, and From Isolation to Inclusion (I2I). They co-hosted a stand alongside IWI (an Associate Partner in Green WIN) handing out brochures – including versions especially translated for the majority German audience.
They played the video Waterways Ireland have produced promoting their pump replacement work at Richmond Harbour; one of the sites selected by them as part of the Green WIN project.
Located on the Royal Canal in the Republic of Ireland, the pump at Richmond Harbour extracts water from the River Camlin river to supply water for the canal. With the installation of a newer, more efficient pump, as well as the use of additional measurement instrumentation, Waterways Ireland hopes to significantly reduce its energy consumption and associated carbon emissions there.