The Year In Water: What You Liked, And What We Learned
Water Online’s annual Top 10 newsletter is always a good read, but we can’t take full credit. The rankings are based on popularity, so it’s really you — our audience — who determines what’s included. Furthermore, year-end lists have a built-in charm: Who doesn’t like to look back and take inventory of the year that was?
Beyond simple retrospective, however, the Top 10 results reveal the collective interests of the water and wastewater community, thus providing valuable insight on the state of the industry. So, what did 2012 teach us?
Reader Revelation No. 1: Learning Is Fundamental
Titles among the top 10 articles include A 'How To' Guide For pH Sensors; Biofilm 101: An Overview Of Control Strategies; UV Disinfection 101; and A Primer On Energy Efficiency For Water Utilities. What these results reveal (besides my possible overuse of “101” as an editorial device) is that introductory-type articles are a hit.
The cynic might cite “brain drain” — experienced water professionals retiring en masse — as explanation for this trend. But rather than assuming a deficiency on the part of the remaining workforce, I prefer to see it as a healthy thirst for more and more knowledge. In that regard, not even the brightest in the field can say their cup is full.
Reader Revelation No. 2: Interest In Innovation
The evolution of water and wastewater treatment, as well as energy-efficient technologies, monitoring and control equipment, etc., ensures that there is always something new to be learned. The interest in cutting-edge solutions is evidenced by the top-performing editorial perspectives of 2012. Recognizing the important role that innovation is set to play, I penned a number of stories on emerging technologies. Each of the following landed in the Top 10:
- 10 Technologies That Could Change The Industry
- Whiskey Fix: A Surprising Water Treatment Solution
- Creating Drinking Water From Thin Air
- Wastewater 2.0: The Age Of Innovation
And when new technologies were featured in the news section, such as a major sewage treatment breakthrough, a game-changing desalination discovery, or “magic beads” that kill bacteria in water, the clicks followed in the thousands. Who says the water/wastewater industry is averse to change? Well, at least it’s not averse to reading about it.
Reader Revelation No. 3: “Show Me The Money!”
Despite the exciting developments on the technical side of water, the economic situation — specifically the lack of financing available for municipal projects — is stubbornly persistent. As a result, a number of articles aimed at securing capital, or simply minding the money you have, drew significant attention. For example:
- 4 Financing Solutions For Water Infrastructure Investment
- 5 Tricks To Lean Water Operations
- Performance Contracts Shaking Up The Municipal Water Market
- Beware Of 'Taxmageddon'
With this information, we see a fuller picture of today’s water professional — steadfastly learning, keeping one eye on the future and the other on the bottom line.
And yet this remains just a snapshot of our readers and the industry they serve. The Top 10 results could surely elicit further analysis, but too much navel-gazing may spoil the fun of the exercise.
By way of suggestion, however, be sure not to overlook the product section as you browse this year’s favorites. They may lack catchy titles, but products are the meat and potatoes of every newsletter — where readers find specific solutions to real and immediate needs. That’s strong validation for relevance.
With that we say au revoir to 2012 and look forward to the 2013 newsletter schedule.
From all of us at Water Online, have a safe and happy holiday season.