AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — The Seventh World Plumbing Conference, held in early March here, attracted more than 500 delegates, representing 15 countries. Opened by New Zealand Health Minister Annette King, the conference covered a range of subjects related to public health, training, sanitation and water supply.
Speaking to delegates at the start of the conference, King referred to the important role that professions such as plumbing could play following international disasters such as the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
“While countries right around the world have responded with unprecedented levels of aid,” she said, “it is important to acknowledge that practical responses in terms of rebuilding the infrastructure in the worst affected areas often comes down to the trades represented by this important conference.”
The conference attracted water and sanitation experts such as Professor Charles Watson of Curtin University of Technology in Australia, Professor John Swaffield of Heriot Watt University in Scotland and Jose Hueb, coordinator of the World Health Organisation/UNICEF joint monitoring program for water supply and sanitation. U.S. labor specialist Sean O’Ryan spoke on developing strategic planning for future workforce needs.
New Zealand’s Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Society on behalf of the World Plumbing Council organized the four-day conference. An executive board, established in 1990 in London, manages the WPC. Following its election process in Auckland, George Bliss of the United States now chairs the board while Robert Burgon of Scotland is his deputy. Andy Watts of England was re-elected for the fourth time as secretary and Hans Tiedemann of Canada was elected treasurer.
The next World Plumbing Conference will be held September 2008 in Calgary, Canada. Details will be published on the WPC Website at http://www.worldplumbing.org.