WorldWide News - Asia

Water experts of the five Asia-Pacific sub-regions gathered in Tokyo on 24 to 25 October to discuss the “Regional Document” in order to reach a position statement regarding water issues for presentation at the 4th World Water Forum to be held in Mexico on 16-22 March 2006.

Regional experts prepare for World Water Forum

Water experts of the five Asia-Pacific sub-regions gathered in Tokyo on 24 to 25 October to discuss the “Regional Document” in order to reach a position statement regarding water issues for presentation at the 4th World Water Forum to be held in Mexico on 16-22 March 2006.

Challenges in water management and natural disasters will be highlighted as two common issues for the region. A total of 1,057 natural disasters have occurred in the Asian continent between 1992 and 2001, representing the highest number as compared to other continents. These experiences triggered the need within the region to networking and to work together in order to share knowledge and best practices regarding preventive measures and water management. Regional experts agreed that natural disaster and water management should be addressed through a common strategy.

The Asia-Pacific region includes half of the world population with one third without access to basic water sanitation. According to UNICEF, more than one billion people in the world lack improved drinking water sources, of which 678 million people live in the Asia-Pacific region. An estimated 1,936 million people lack improved sanitation.

During 2005, the five sub-regions of Asia and the Pacific have participated in different meetings that were held in Indonesia, Samoa, Sri Lanka, China and Kazakhstan with the aim of integrating their position statements to address the water-related challenges of each region.

According to Dr. Nanda Abeywickrama, chairman of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) for South Asia, governments should be prepared to face the challenges of natural disasters, such as the tsunami and earthquakes, through communication systems for citizens, access to safe water and shelters, since these kinds of phenomena seem to be occurring more often.

Dr. Vadim Sokolov, chairman of GWP for Central Asia, expressed the sub-regional diagnosis and proposals towards the final regional document, taking into account the serious side effects of environmental problems on the Aral Sea Basin, such as its shrinking and that of its shores.

Quingdao City desalination program in search of partners

The Qingdao City Government plans to use a foreign cooperation arrangement to further its seawater desalination development program. The government provides incentive policies for financial groups and companies to collaborate in making investments to build and operate seawater desalination plants, which include land allotment, electricity prices, taxes, and other incentives.

In early September 2005, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, State Oceanic Administration and Ministry of Finance jointly formulated the “China Seawater Utilization Special Topic Program.” This program identified Qingdao City as a national-level seawater desalination and comprehensive use demonstration city and industrialization base area. The program points out that from 2005 to 2006 Qingdao City will build seven seawater desalination plants, with capacity to be as much as 200,000 cubic meters per day, with a total value of output of six billion yuan Renminbi (US$ 740 million). By the year 2015, seawater desalination capacity will increase to 380,000 cubic meters per day, to be worth12 billion yuan Renminbi (US$ 1.48 billion).

Companies interested in working with this new initiative should contact George Li of Lancao International, based in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, by email at:

Doosan acquires AES water treatment operations

Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction of South Korea acquired the water treatment operations of the US company American Engineering Services Inc., which has supplied reverse osmosis equipment through its network across the US.

Doosan is currently carrying out eight desalination projects with an aggregate capacity of 230 million gallons per day. These projects include the Sabiya Project (Phases1.2 and 3) in Kuwait; the Sohar Project in Oman; and the Ras Laffan Project in Qatar. Doosan is also undertaking MED projects in Benghazi and Zawia, Libya, while rehabilitating the Shuaiba Desalination plant and laying water pipes in Kuwait.

Doosan reports that the Ras Laffan plant, a privately-funded water project ordered by the Qatari government, is progressing. The first evaporator for the project was delivered on 3 October 2005, weighs more than 3,900 tons and has the capacity to produce more than 70,000 tons of water a day. Doosan developed the “One-Module Method” to eliminate the need for reassembly of evaporators at the construction site.

Located about 80 kilometers north of Doha, the capital of Qatar, the desalination plant will produce 270,000 tons of water per day to meet the needs of 700,000 people living in Ras Laffan. The Qatari Ministry of Energy awarded the project to Doosan in April 2005. The company expects to complete the desalination plan by April 2006, just in time for the Doha Asian Games. This means that Doosan will produce desalinated water in only 19 months.

Field Notes

Australia:A report published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), located in Glen Osmond, South Australia, explains that lessons can be learned from past experiences on how the nation can implement the National Water Initiative. Entitled “Managing Change: Australian Structural Adjustment Lessons for Water,” by J.C. McColl and M.D. Young, the report seeks to inform policymakers of the issues and options around structural adjustment in the context of water reform.

The authors reviewed ten rural structural adjustment schemes and found that governments may act to impede, facilitate, and expedite adjustment. McColl and Young identify three important lessons for water management in Australia. Their report asserts to maximize opportunities arising from water reform:

• management of environmental impacts needs to be kept separate from the management of social adjustment processes;

• access charges, exit fees, and transfer fees need to be kept to a minimum and not allowed to act as disincentives; and

• when securing water from irrigators to enhance river flows, adjustment assistance needs to be targeted.

The authors argue for a portfolio of approaches to secure additional water through the marketplace.

China:Modbus-IDA and the Instrumentation Technology & Economy Institute (ITEI) opened ITEI’s Modbus Conformance Test Laboratory in Beijing on 18 October 2005. Planning for the ITEI lab started in January 2005. With the help of Schneider Electric engineers, the lab is open and available to test and certify devices as conforming to Modbus TCP/IP specification or Modbus over Serial Line. Schneider Electric donated the equipment that performs conformance and interoperability tests. Modbus-IDA is contracting with organizations in locations around the world to offer conformance testing and certification of Modbus devices. Modbus-IDA headquarters are located in North Grafton, Massachusetts, USA.

China:GE Water & Process Technologies considers the Chinese market for potable water technology to be highly attractive for the company’s global growth, specifically in water reuse and desalination.

The level of contamination in most surface water supply resources in China is so high that company executives think of this market in terms of water reuse, according to Colin Sabol, the senior global executive for GE Water & Process Technologies. The scarcity of potable water in the country is driving the tremendous demand for small- and medium-sized plants for reuse and desalination of brackish water. Over time, Mr. Sabol explained, GE expects the market for seawater desalination to expand.

Mr. Sabol and other executives spoke at length about water industry trends, pending US legislation, and the challenges of global water scarcity during a media roundtable that took place during the Weftec 2005, held on 1 November in Washington, D.C., USA.

GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company, is based in Trevose, Pennsylvania, USA. The company specializes in water reuse, and industrial, irrigation, municipal, and drinking water needs.

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