WFD is an acronym formed from the first letters of the conference’s name, WaterFolder Day, but this acronym has been known for more than 20 years, as WFD is nothing more than the Water Framework Directive, or WFD. What does a conference aimed at designers dealing with stormwater have to do with the Directive? Well, it turned out, in my opinion, a great deal. First, they talked about water problems at great length. I would be inclined to say that this is a meeting not only strictly for the industry, but also for people who shape public space in any way. Secondly, a number of aspects were noted and a number of topics were raised that treat water as a resource with special conservation needs. What also seems important is to draw attention to the role of the designer in shaping the space, not only dependent on his imagination, but also on his knowledge and experience, which, skillfully used, can be of great social value.
WaterFolder Day is a big meeting, so it’s also a big logistical challenge. According to the organizers, 750 people attended this year’s event. During the first day, participants had the opportunity to select the lectures that interested them, which were grouped into five thematic blocks: legal and formal, GIS, traffic drainage and stormwater drainage, green-blue infrastructure, and operations. The second day was devoted to study visits. It was possible to visit small retention facilities, the GRP pipe manufacturing plant, learn about the mitigation measures implemented by the Rumia City Hall, or participate in a Gdansk city game using a special mobile application. More statistics on the event are available at retention.co.uk.
WaterFolder Day was an event that showed that modern design solutions are available at your fingertips, and that the implementation of most of them depends largely on the approach of the designer himself, but also on the openness and willingness to deviate from the entrenched solutions proposed by decision-makers, which are usually unfavorable to the environment. I consider as a great added value of this meeting the skillful combination of proposals for innovative engineering solutions with attention to ecosystem needs and shaping of space in accordance with nature, as well as the indication of limitations and formal-legal possibilities for such activities.
One lecture pointed out something that is particularly close to my views – the perception of the role of water in our environment has been shaped over the centuries based on the false belief that man and everything he creates should stand out from its surroundings. Unfortunately, we are only now noticing that by adapting projects, activities and investments to natural environmental conditions, we can achieve what we expect – a better quality of life.