WHO signs agreement with Singapore on drinking water management

Aug. 29, 2007
Today, the Government of Singapore and the World Health Organisation (WHO) signed a new partnership agreement to jointly promote the safe management of drinking water globally. The signing ceremony took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in the context of the annual World Water Week Conference. "Singapore is very happy and honored to be a partner of the World Health Organization in the joint promotion of the safe management of drinking water globally. In the last 40 years...

• New partnership aims to improve public health worldwide

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 15, 2007 -- Today, the Government of Singapore and the World Health Organisation (WHO) signed a new partnership agreement to jointly promote the safe management of drinking water globally. The signing ceremony took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in the context of the annual World Water Week Conference.

"Singapore is very happy and honored to be a partner of the World Health Organization in the joint promotion of the safe management of drinking water globally. In the last 40 years, Singapore has managed to overcome its water challenges through integrated water resource management, investing in research and technology, and encouraging community involvement in water management," said Tan Yong Soon, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

"Today, we have put in place a sustainable water supply system through a diversified supply strategy with four different sources, namely water from local catchments, imported water from Malaysia, NEWater (or recycled water) and desalinated water. In Singapore, this is known affectionately as the Four National Taps strategy."

The agreement was signed by Tan on behalf of the Government of Singapore, and by Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, WHO's Assistant Director General for Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments, on behalf of WHO. The ceremony was witnessed by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

"It is our collective responsibility to address the devastating effects of declining water quality. When water is scarce, people are forced to rely on unsafe water. Proper water management is ever more crucial in those places where little water is available. Moreover, with freshwater resources strongly affected by, and vulnerable to, climate change, finding solutions to these challenges becomes all the more pressing," said Weber-Mosdorf.

"Singapore is an exemplary model of integrated water management and WHO hopes to work closely with Singapore to share such expertise in water management with its Member States."

Under this agreement, which will run until 2015, WHO will work with Singapore to strengthen and disseminate knowledge to developing Member States on the procedures for the safe use of wastewater in direct and indirect drinking uses; intra-urban water catchment management; the desalination and advanced chemical treatment of waste / sea-water as a source of drinking water; and the ability of a country's drinking water infrastructure to withstand disruptions and restrictions in its water supply.

The collaboration leverages on Singapore's significant expertise in the development and implementation of approaches to safe water management in water-stressed situations, and with WHO's leading role internationally in providing guidance to Member States on water safety measures.

Tan elaborated, "The Four National Taps strategy leverages on technology to create a sustainable water supply for Singapore. For example, NEWater is a result of applying advanced membrane technologies to produce ultra-clean water. Desalinated water has also become a viable source of water through technological advancements in desalination, such as the use of seawater reverse osmosis.

"As for the harvesting of rainwater, Singapore has very limited land to serve as water catchment. But we have managed to put in place a network that allows us to capture half of the country's land area and this will soon increase to two-thirds with the completion of two new reservoir schemes. We can share our experience with other countries facing water challenges."

Singapore adopts the WHO guidelines for drinking water quality and has comprehensive measures in place to ensure that its drinking water quality is consistently well within these guideline values.

Under the agreement, the areas of cooperation will include:
• Research Collaboration on water quality, water technologies, and best practices. For example, Singapore's key water projects such as the Marina Reservoir can be used as test-bedding sites in areas of managing urban water resources
• Capacity building -- WHO and Singapore to co-organize workshops / training for WHO Member States in Asia
• Emergencies and Disasters -- Singapore to support WHO's response to regional chemical contamination to water resources
• Conferences and meetings -- Singapore to host WHO-based conferences and meetings and share its experience / knowledge in water reuse and integrated water management
• Participation of Singapore experts -- in ongoing WHO programs / activities
• Secondment of Singaporean experts and government officers to WHO

Currently more than 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water worldwide. Every year, this unremitting but seemingly invisible disaster claims the lives of more than 1.6 million people because they lack access to safe water and sanitation.

Ninety percent of the deaths occur among children under five, mostly in developing countries. For every child that dies, countless others suffer from poor health, diminished productivity, and missed opportunities for education. With a rising trend of water scarcity, the situation is getting worse due to climate change, population growth, urbanization and the increase in domestic and industrial water use.

"There is an urgent need for sustainable water solutions and we are pleased to have Singapore as our partner in this mission," said Weber-Mosdorf.

###

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity