Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024 Connects Industry to Modernise Italy’s Water Infrastructure

The Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024, scheduled for 29th–31st May at Piacenza Expo in Italy, will connect industry players to build more efficient and resilient water and wastewater infrastructure, capable of addressing growing concerns about drought and cyberattacks.
Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024 Connects Industry to Modernise Italy’s Water Infrastructure

Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024 Connects Industry to Modernise Italy’s Water Infrastructure (Image source: Mediapoint & Exhibitions s.r.l.)

The third edition of Pipeline & Gas Expo, taking place 29th–31st May 2024 at Piacenza Expo, comes at a pivotal moment for Italy’s water and wastewater sector. The Italian government’s significant investments in modernising and expanding the country’s water infrastructure have sparked a surge in demand for materials and services essential to the completion of numerous pipeline and treatment plant projects. As a result, both domestic and international suppliers are gearing up to meet the needs of this growing market, prioritising quality, efficiency, and sustainability.

“The next few years will be a defining moment for the Italian water and wastewater sector,” says Fabio Potestà, director of Mediapoint & Exhibitions, the company organising Pipeline & Gas Expo. “With substantial investments planned in intelligent pipelines and sustainable treatment plants, Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024 will provide a vital platform for industry players to connect, showcase their latest innovations, and capitalise on this exciting growth potential.”

The need to upgrade Italy’s water infrastructure
Italy faces a critical challenge in its water infrastructure, especially in the south. With 35% of pipes aged between 31 and 50 years old and widespread leakage (40% nationally and even higher in southern Italy), the system suffers from inefficiencies that threaten water security. This vulnerability is brought sharply into focus by the increasingly frequent water crises as a result of climate change. Furthermore, more than 2.57 million Italians are living in areas that do not comply with EU directives for the collection and treatment of wastewater. Urgent intervention is required to ensure safe and reliable water supply and address the infrastructure disparities between north and south.

Investment in a more resilient and sustainable future
Recognising the need for resilient and future-proof water management, the Italian government has allocated €2 billion in its National Recovery and Resilience plan (NRRP) to upgrade primary infrastructure for secure water supply. This investment will support 25 projects across Italy to enhance, complete, and maintain water sources, storage facilities, and supply systems across major residential, industrial, and agricultural areas.

The plan includes a €900 million investment to build at least 25,000 km of new water distribution networks, especially in southern Italy, with advanced digital control systems that allow for real-time monitoring of water flow, pressure, and quality at key points. These intelligent networks will help optimise resource management, improve efficiency, and reduce waste.

Furthermore, the NRRP dedicates €600 million to bolstering wastewater sanitation systems throughout Italy, which will involve completing unfinished sewer lines and building new treatment plants, especially in the south, to comply with EU regulations. Wherever feasible, these plants will be transformed into ‘green factories’ for energy and sludge recovery, enabling the use of treated wastewater for irrigation and industrial purposes.

Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024: Where key industry players meet
This investment and the raft of projects in the water and wastewater sector is good news for the domestic and international players involved in the construction and maintenance of water infrastructure at the upcoming Pipeline & Gas Expo. The event presents a comprehensive showcase of the latest components and materials, including pipes made from concrete, cast iron and HDPE, valves, sealing systems, protective coatings, flow indicators, and pressure meters. It will also showcase a wide range of machinery, including trenchers, digging and padding machines, pipe-jacking and micro-tunnelling machines, pipelayers, and lifting equipment essential to pipeline construction. Meanwhile, contractors specialising in pipeline and aqueduct construction, inspection, and maintenance will be offering their expertise.

The 2024 event follows a successful edition in 2022, which attracted more than 200 exhibitors and 5,000 visitors despite ongoing pandemic challenges. Building on this momentum and the renewed industry desire for face-to-face interaction, the organisers anticipate a substantial increase in participation this year, especially from international companies.

With a strict deadline for finalising NRRP project financing by the end of 2026, the entire supply chain is mobilising to ensure readiness and this positive market trend is expected to continue until 2031 as projects reach their completion stages. Pipeline & Gas Expo will provide a valuable platform for participants to discuss and explore solutions for addressing the sector’s challenges and capitalising on this government investment.

No-dig and cybersecurity solutions in focus
A particular highlight of the event will be a special focus area dedicated to trenchless technology, organised in collaboration with IATT, the Italian Association for Trenchless Technology. This area will display the latest advancements, particularly in directional drilling and pipe relaying, for installing, repairing, and rehabilitating pipelines in challenging and sensitive environments, such as underneath rivers, roads, railways, and buildings; densely populated urban areas; or areas of ecological or historical significance.

As Italy invests in digitising its water networks, the simultaneous rise in cyberattacks targeting utilities underscores the urgent need for water network operators to embrace cybersecurity technologies. Recognising this critical intersection, Pipeline & Gas Expo 2024 will be collocated with CYBSEC-EXPO, a brand-new exhibition dedicated to showcasing solutions to safeguard critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

“We are excited to witness the renewal of the industry firsthand in our upcoming third edition of Pipeline & Gas Expo and first edition of CYBERSEC-EXPO in May 2024. Together, we can build a more efficient, robust, and future-proof water and wastewater infrastructure for the whole of Italy,” Potestà concludes.

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