Sustaining the places we call home

28 Jun 2010                       

It was simply humbling to know that right there in the same room as me were the greatest water minds in the world at the Opening Ceremony of SIWW 2010, concerned about the same issues facing similarly developing cities.Indeed, with the world population set to hit 9 billion by 2050, 70% of which living in cities, the race is on to establish and create more water solutions to cope with the influx of people who (let’s face it) all need water to survive.Add this to the projection of 8 more megacities (making 29) by 2025, each with 10 million people or more and requiring exceptional water solutions, and this year’s theme, Sustainable Cities – Clean & Affordable Water, has never been more appropriate.In his opening address, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim reinforced the “need for us to improve efficiencies, the use of our resources including energy and raw materials – as well as to address the issues of water quality around the world.” This is important, as especially with developing countries, more and more people are congregating in big cities in the pursuit of better opportunities and living conditions.It is this exact promise that Guest-of-Honour Mr Teo Chee Hean, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence said needs to be protected.

28jun_opening01DPM Teo Chee Hean addressing the audience at the Opening Ceremony

He said, “It is our collective responsibility to live up to this promise and build liveable and sustainable cities that will enhance the well-being of people all over the world. After all, these are places which we all call home.”The crowd was then wowed by a rousing contemporary dance performance set to the back drop of a live sand art performance, before Mr Teo and Dr Yaacob toured the Water Expo and unveiled a new PUB publication called the Integrated Water Master Plan, overviewing Singapore’s water plan for the next 50 years.Having lived in Singapore all my life, it’s easy to take for granted the availability of resources like clean water. Hopefully though, the presence of conferences like the Water Week means more cities will enjoy clean water facilities as a basic commodity.

By Joshua Tan

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