Closing The Water Loop

4 Jul 2012                      

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“Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” – excerpt from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

The newly opened Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay served as a backdrop for the Closing Dinner. Amid the splendour of dazzling flowers in bloom, guests mingled under a resplendent ceiling of multi-coloured lights. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, was in attendance as a range of local delights was served for dinner.

As the Singapore International Week draws to a close, I sat down to reflect on what 4 days of conventions, expos, forums, dialogues and workshops have impressed upon me. The technology on show was fascinating and speeches awe-inspiring, but perhaps the biggest lesson that resonated with me more than anything else was the pressing need for better water governance and greater political will to answer the daunting water challenge today.

According to the United Nations, by 2025, half the countries of the world will face water stress or shortage. Even though the Singapore International Water Week is billed as a landmark event which brings together all the stakeholders on water to share and co-create innovative water solutions, the buck must not stop here.

To tackle the inevitable water scarcity issue, governments have a critical role in terms of setting policies and standards to promote water management, and must act quickly to arrest this crisis.

On our part, a culture of conserving water and of using water efficiently and prudently has to be ingrained into people, so that we do not waste whatever water resources we currently have.

At the end of the day, every single drop of water counts. A sustainable water supply is achievable, but only if all cogs in the water loop are working in tandem. Moving ahead, I wish to see closer and more intimate conversations between the big players and the common man, so that no one is left out from the water equation.

See you in 2014!

By Ivan Lim

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