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Christian Rocke, Exhibition Group Director – IFAT, Messe München

From October 16 to 18, Mumbai will turn into the hot spot for the Indian water & environment industry with IFAT India 2019 – India’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, solid waste, and recycling. In an interview, Christian Rocke, Exhibition Group Director of the worldwide IFAT network at Messe München talks to Smart Water & Waste World magazine which is an official Media Partner of this event.

Q. What are the water industry topics that will take center stage at IFAT India this year?
Mr. Rocke: At the top of the list this year is the question of how we can diversify the water supply in India. Already back in 2016, a World Bank study predicted that by 2020 existing sources would no longer be able to meet India’s water needs sufficiently. The current water crisis in Chennai is a sad example of how urgently we need to accelerate the expansion of different supply routes.

Q. What routes would that be?
Mr. Rocke: The desalination of seawater or saline groundwater, for example. This is indispensable for India today and holds further great potential. The central government is currently granting subsidized loans for the construction of desalination plants. With that in mind, this year’s IFAT India will see more suppliers of suitable components than ever, many of them being international manufacturers.

Q. Can you give some examples?
Mr. Rocke: Manufacturers of reverse osmosis membranes include Jay Water Management from India, Hydranautics from the U.S. and Lanxess from Germany. The French company Suez will present solutions for water treatment. And then there will be the Irish company Pentair with its winding modules and housings for the energy sector and the industry; the South Korean chemical group LG Chem, manufacturer of reverse osmosis modules; and the German company Thermax, which has products for industrial heating technology and fire protection.

Q. Will there also be holistic system solutions?
Mr. Rocke: Of course, I strongly recommend a visit to our Desalination Pavilion. Organized together with Desalination Institute DME, this pavilion will make its debut at IFAT India. Here, we will cover the entire process chain of desalination projects, from the manufacturers and system integrators to the consultants. The pavilion will be a one-stop information resource for all interested parties.

Q. Are there other approaches to diversifying the water supply in India?
Mr. Rocke: In addition to seawater desalination, wastewater treatment plays a central role in India. With the help of modern technologies, wastewater can already be treated today in such a way that it corresponds to the quality of drinking water. IFAT India’s focus is not only on solutions for municipal processing. I believe that industrial sectors such as the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries are responsible here as they use large quantities of water for production and processing, washing, dilution or cooling.

Q. How many exhibitors do you expect?
Mr. Rocke: We expect over 250 exhibitors – and thus a new record.

Q. From next year, Messe München will be represented in India with a second annual IFAT trade fair. What are your goals?
Mr. Rocke: In Mumbai, we managed to firmly establish IFAT India in the industry and position it as a leading hub in India. With IFAT Delhi, we will explicitly address trade visitors from the northern part of the subcontinent, where there is considerable need for action. Let me give an example: fourteen of the world’s most polluted cities are located in northern India. And with approximately sixteen million inhabitants New Delhi is dependent on regular water supplies from adjacent states. However, with IFAT Delhi we are also specifically seeking proximity to politics, which play a decisive role in the expansion of environmental infrastructure. As the capital, New Delhi is therefore of strategic importance.

Q. Is that also the reason why you chose the World Sustainable Development Summit 2020 as co-location for the premiere?
Mr. Rocke: Partly, yes. Since 2017, we have been working closely with TERI – The Energy and Resources Institute. And we are now expanding this cooperation, supplementing TERI’s summit with the technologies and innovations of our IFAT exhibitors. Technologies are the key to improve the quality of life of citizens and to make economic development sustainable. Technologies are therefore also the key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Q. When and where will the IFAT Delhi premier take place?
Mr. Rocke: From January 29 to 31, 2020 at the India Habitat Centre.

Q. Is there anything else planned?
Mr. Rocke: Of course, we keep an eye on many emerging markets – IFAT technologies are in great demand around the globe. However, one thing is for sure, we will first concentrate on successfully establishing IFAT Delhi before thinking about further projects.

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