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Singapore wins international award for water management

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
15 August 2007

SINGAPORE : Singapore has won an international award for its sustainable water management.

The PUB received the prestigious "Stockholm Industry Water Award" in Sweden on Wednesday.

It is being recognised for good policies and innovative engineering solutions.

The Environment & Water Resources Minister, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, said the latest international recognition for Singapore's water management policies will spur the country to push the boundaries.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia from Sweden, Dr Yaacob added that having won the award, Singapore hopes to attract the world's best players so that it can set itself as a global hydrohub.

PUB will also partner the World Health Organisation (WHO) to promote safe handling of drinking water around the world.

The Stockholm Industry Water Award is a prestigious prize which recognises innovative corporate development of water and wastewater process technologies.

It also recognises contributions to environmental improvement through advanced production methods.

This Stockholm Industry Water Award is PUB's second international award for good water management.

Last year, PUB was named the "Water Agency of the Year" by Global Water Intelligence in Dubai.

Singapore's success in turning used water into drinking water has garnered a lot of attention from around the globe.

The island-state has become a model city in managing its water challenges.

But it's not just the big picture. At the individual level, Singaporeans are also encouraged to save water, such as reusing it for other purposes.

In Stockholm, upon receiving the water award, Singapore used NEWater to acknowledge its win.

"With this award, we'll put ourselves on the map in terms of our push to develop into a global hydrohub. I think a lot of other companies and prestigious institutions will recognise PUB as a worthy partner in order to collaborate to find new solutions relating to water and water technologies," said Dr Yaacob.

Said Khoo Teng Chye, chief executive of PUB: "It's a recognition that in Singapore, we have found a sustainable way to solve our water problems, particularly the way in which we have invested in technology and sound policies to create NEWater.

"Our solutions have enabled us to grow an industry, turning a vulnerability into strength... and we're positioned on a world platform to share our solutions with the rest of the world."

To share Singapore's knowledge of water management globally, it has signed a partnership agreement with the WHO.

Under the agreement, which will run till 2015, Singapore and WHO will cooperate in areas such as research collaboration, including using Singapore's Marina Reservoir as a test-bedding site to manage urban water resources.

Singapore will also support the international body's response to regional chemical contamination to water supplies.

"The lessons learnt in PUB and in Singapore are very valuable to the world and I think it's good that Singapore is now planning to share its experience with others... by setting up the Singapore Water Week and planning for a technology hub," said Anders Berntell, executive director of Stockholm International Water Institute.

Other areas of collaboration under the agreement - WHO and Singapore will co-organise workshops or training for WHO member states in Asia.

Singapore will also host WHO-based conferences and meetings, sharing experience and knowledge in water reuse and integrated water management.

Singapore experts and government officers will be seconded to WHO, with local water specialists participating in WHO programmes and activities.

Today, Singaporeans have water flowing out of the taps and will continue to do so because of the nation's policy of ensuring its four water sources. These include importing water from Malaysia and also NEWater.

And with Singapore's advanced water process technologies, one can even drink it straight out from the tap.

But the country is not stopping there. It will invest about S$330 million over the next five years to develop the local water industry. - CNA /ls