Paper captures key discussions, insights at Singapore International Water Week

Singapore's national water agency, PUB, has produced an aptly named Blue Paper that underscores the importance of finding sustainable solutions to the world's water and used water problems. It was launched by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the International Water Association's (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition in Vienna, Austria. This event was attended by some 3,000 water experts from around the world...

SINGAPORE, Sept. 9, 2008 -- Singapore's national water agency, PUB, has produced an aptly named Blue Paper, following the resounding success of the inaugural Singapore International Water Week this year. The Paper underscores the importance of finding sustainable solutions to the world's water and used water problems.

It was launched by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the International Water Association's (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition in Vienna, Austria, this morning. This event was attended by some 3,000 water experts from around the world.

The 11-page document summarizes major water issues raised during the Water Leaders Summit as well as the dialogue with Singapore's Minister Mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, during the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize Award Ceremony held on 25 June 2008. It was written with the help of staff and graduate students of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, through its Institute of Water Policy.

Water issues addressed in the Blue Paper

Growth of cities: City-planning all over the world poses common challenges -- infrastructure, demand for resources and environmental degradation. Tackling these challenges needs action on different fronts -- political commitment, development of new technologies and greater private sector participation in financing.

Limited clean water resources: Good governance is fundamental to sound water management. Cities need to take an integrated approach by harnessing business, technology and government with sound, market-driven sustainable policies.

Cost of ignoring Nature's laws: Cities and countries need to find a balance between ecology and economic development. The prevention of water pollution and protection of the environment needs to keep pace with economic progress.

Technological advancements: Reverse osmosis and membrane technologies have made desalination, water recycling and other purification techniques cheaper. Governments are in a good position to influence and sustain extensive and large-scale research & development by providing leadership, strategic planning and support.

Addressing the Congress on the impact of urbanization, increasing economic growth and fast growing cities on the provision of water services, Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said, "The Blue Paper notes that improvements in technology can certainly help, but these technological improvements are not translating into practical water solutions for cities because of poor governance."

The Blue Paper urges political and social leaders to do the following:
1. find political commitment and determination at the multilateral, national and local levels to implement tough decisions.
2. support the development of new water technologies and on-the-ground adaptation of such technologies; and
3. foster win-win partnerships between the private and public sectors.

To help the public better appreciate and understand the challenges in obtaining clean, fresh water in an increasingly urbanized world, the Blue Paper is available to all at the Singapore International Water Week's website.

Singapore International Water Week 2009
The Blue Paper also charts the way forward for next year's Singapore International Water Week themed 'Sustainable Cities -- Infrastructure and Technologies for Water'. The second Water Week, to be held from 22 to 26 June 2009 at Suntec Singapore, will coincide with the Asia-Pacific Infrastructure Ministerial Forum and International Water Association's Leading Edge Technologies Conference (LET).

The highlights of Singapore International Water Week 2009 will include the Water Leaders Summit, Water Convention, Water Expo, Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize and Business Forums. Delegates can also tap Singapore's rich experiences in mega projects such as the Marina Barrage, Deep Tunnel Sewerage System and NEWater through the Water Week's Technical Tours.

The Singapore International Water Week is the global platform for water solutions. It brings policymakers, industry leaders, experts and practitioners together to address challenges, showcase technologies, discover opportunities and celebrate achievements in the water world.

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