Keynotes Speakers

Leading voices and thought-leaders

Agenda setting thought leadership from the most prominent figures within the water sector and beyond. Keynote speakers are the top specialists in their field and will provide the overarching narrative for the Summit. Keynotes and supporting panels will frame the key discussions and topics that will be addressed during the event.

Tuesday, December 1st

Environment and Global Challenges

15:30 to 16:00

Christine Boyle, Xylem

Dr. Christine Boyle is Segment Area Lead for Xylem’s Metering Insights Group. Her work focuses on developing decision-support software that achieves both resource and financial sustainability goals for water utilities. She received a doctorate in water resource planning in 2011 and “spun” a water analytics company, Valor Water, out of her thesis work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a trustee of the Cal-Nevada American Water Works Association and of the American Water Works Association Management and Leadership Division.

Wednesday, 2 December


09:00 to 09:30

José Diaz Caneja, ACCIONA Agua

José Díaz-Caneja holds a master degree (MSc) in Civil Engineering from Madrid Polytechnical University and an MBA from IESE Business School. After have worked in large infrastructure groups in Latam and Spain, Mr. Díaz-Caneja joined ACCIONA Agua’s international business development department in 2002. In 2007 he joined ForoPPP Infraestructuras as Managing Director– a PPP institution- for a 4 year period and in 2011 he re-joined ACCIONA Agua as Middle East and Africa Development Director, becoming Director General of ACCIONA Agua (ACCIONA Group’s Water Division), in January 2014.

15:00 to 15:30

Paul Siemers, Melbourne Water

Paul Siemers is a strategic digital technology leader with an extensive background in people leadership and management, business relationship management, technology-enabled process change, technology strategy and architecture.

More than 20 years of international experience with leading companies and extensive experience in the resources (mining, petrochemical, water) and finance sectors. Paul holds a honours degrees in Information Systems and Mathematics/Computer Science, as well as an MBA from Deakin University. In his current position, he is Chair – Water Workstream, Internet of Things Alliance Australia.

Thursday, 3 December

Partnerships and Customer Service

09:00 to 9:30

Vikki Williams, Arup

We can all see how climate change effects have been exacerbated by damaged and artificial landscapes, reducing their resilience and impacting the people who live there. Sustainable technological development and innovation does not automatically lead to a total reduction of the environmental burden of industrial production. However, with digital enablement, technology and innovation can assess the resilience of these landscapes and the wider ecosystems, including how much capacity is used within those systems, and ultimately help to monitor and minimise climate change effects.

Technology development and the framework to achieve digital sustainability is available today. Remote sensing, machine learning and social listening techniques can be used to deliver results which can be measured as contributors towards delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as assessing impact within planetary boundaries. (Water resources, climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity, agricultural and emergency response, impact upon different community groups). For example, landscapes within an ecosystem can be described in terms of capacity used and resilience potential, which aligns with multiple SDGs.

“Greening” our infrastructure, companies buildings and cities, combined with digital transformations and technology investments, could yield up to a 20 percent drop in carbon emissions between now and 2030.

This is where digital infrastructure meets sustainability to deliver powerful solutions, which gain the desired long-term viability for the planet, profit and people. Through examples, this talk will highlight where connected governments, corporations and local charities can combine with connected infrastructure to deliver something far greater than its individual components.


A chemist by background and a chartered environmental engineer, Vikki is Arup’s Digital Water Leader in the UKIMEA (UK, India, Middle East & Africa) region. Vikki has over 20 years’ experience working with water utilities and other infrastructure industries, with half of those years spent in engineering and management consultancy. More recently, Vikki has combined her technical and management skills into digital service provision for clients, including early design work in digital twins.

In 2019, Vikki led a project to build an IoT (Internet of Things) Water Treatment Works in a box, providing rural communities with access to clean drinking water. User-centric design, circular economy principles and maintainability were at the heart of this initiative. The unit developed treatment control philosophies based upon new edge IoT technology.

Vikki’s current interest is in learning how digital technologies can be deployed, in the first instance, to improve the operational performance of infrastructure; she is also keen to combine this thinking with delivering social value, through the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, to deliver the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

15:00 to 15:30

Michael Bednar-Brandt, Oracle

The Fitness Studio Effect or how to stay relevant in a changing world.

Michael Bednar-Brandt is a passionate speaker, facilitator, forward thinker, networker, coach – and most of all hands-on practitioner for Innovation within large organisations. In his day job as Head of Business Innovation at Oracle NEXT he works on incubating, proving and scaling new ways of working together that take the pain out of change and drive both business success and cultural change.

In his keynote he will not talk about digital nor talk about water – instead challenge you to the human side of cultural transformation, programs versus movements, corporate innovation fitness, and your personal role in that game. Be prepared for 20 minutes of high intensity input to lay the groundwork for many fascinating discussions.

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