Cultivating a shared responsibility towards water

7 Jul 2012                           

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“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything” – George Lois 

As another successful edition of the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) comes to a close, it is only fitting that we recap on some key challenges that were identified and the possible measures to overcome them.

Below are three key ideas that were mentioned consistently throughout the entire SIWW.

Multi-stakeholder approach
Firstly, with water being such a broad issue that involves everyone, a multi-stakeholder approach is the best way to implement ideas and solutions both efficiently and successfully across the board.
Once government and industry leaders implement these ideas, it is the responsibility of everyone involved along the water chain to ensure its success. Building a filtration system that can turn polluted water into drinking water in the most remote villages in the world will not work if the villagers are not educated on how to maintain the systems and use it effectively.

In essence, everyone needs to take responsibility and be accountable to ensure the success of an idea.

Having the right capacity
Secondly, with an increasingly connected world, the availability of technology and solutions has become easily accessible. Moreover, water, while still a scarce and precious resource, is still readily available with the right infrastructure in place.

However, that is where the problem lies. Not enough is being done to ensure cities, especially developing ones, have sufficient capacity to accommodate a fast growing population. There is a need to create and maintain the infrastructure needed to bring water to people and waste away from them.

Hence, it is important to understand that while water is finite, it is not the only problem we need to tackle. Effective capacity management is a key ingredient in solving the water and waste management problems that plague us today.

Good Governance
Finally, and perhaps the most important factor of all, is good governance. Governments have the ability to implement policies, provoke thought leadership and inspire a country to work together to achieve a common goal. Hence it is necessary, especially for the topic of water, for governing bodies to work cooperatively with the various stakeholders to identify key challenges and come up with effective solutions to overcome them.

Water is our responsibility
18,554 participants from 104 countries participated in the SIWW. They alone are not responsible for our water security. All 7 billion of us are.

By Nicholas Patrick

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