I have gained insights mostly from the water stewardship session. I didn’t know anything or even hear anything about water stewardship before. Mr Cheng was a great speaker and he gave clear ideas on water stewardship as well as what Swire Pacific Ltd has been doing in developing and maintaining sustainable development. I have been impressed by Swire’s effort in reduce, reuse and replenish plan where they constructed their water treatment plant to treat their wastewater before discharging. They also made an effort to reuse the water for other purpose as well as tried to replenish the water in the lake after treatment. I think it would be good if companies like Swire can share their sustainable solutions with some of the firms or even developing countries (in the South Asia) which are facing critical water pollution and contamination. This will definitely help to minimize the problem of water and sanitation which we discussed in the first day of YWLS.
It is also until Mr Cheng’s talk then I realized water stewardship or sustainable development is an essential part of company’s economic development. It is indeed important to convince the senior executives the purpose and cost benefit of water stewardship. The formation of sustainable teams within the executives will be very useful as they have more sense on what is happening downstream and get more involved in it.
After Mr Cheng’s talk, I realized that most of the companies that are dealing with products manufacturing require a plan for water stewardship. This might have been in the company master plan but I think this is always the component that companies leave out or neglect of. This is a great area that needs to be taken care of to ensure that our children, grandchildren and the future generation can embrace the nature as what we are doing now. In the near future, I hope that water and environment stewardship can be one of the most important components for companies to operate continuously.
From the Dialogue Session with Ministers of different countries, I realized the word ‘sustainable’ has been the key for every discussion session. Environmental sustainability has always been the key aspects in country urban planning. Countries are looking for measures to tackle and mitigate climate change caused by economic growth, wastewater reclamation and reuse, renewable energy and reduce water consumption. They key to achieve these goals relies very much on the regulations outlined by the government and the transparency for implementation. Another point for good urban planning and environmental sustainability is to allow the community to understand the value of doing it. By building water parks and to let people to have easy access to nature, people will then start to value water and become
willing to protect the nature as well as the water body. This was mentioned by the Minister of Denmark and I opine that the same strategies have been employed in Singapore through the ABC Projects initiated by PUB.
Connections between cities and cooperation with other cities were also key points that had been brought up by the Ministers. Suzhou in China is indeed a very good example in this. It has learnt strategies for urban planning from Singapore and collaborated to make the cities more livable and sustainable. Today, Suzhou has ranked top in terms of environment and facilities in China. This does not happen in a day but this is through cooperation and learning from Singapore then Suzhou was transformed into a sustainable and environmental friendly city.
The Hydro Pitch event was an inspiring one because I get to know how researcher can turn their products into commercial use. The translation of research to technologies is very important nowadays to find new solutions for water issues such as water scarcity, water shortage and safe drinking water. Thus, new initiative of event is definitely of value and useful for young mind to turn their innovations into business.
I have gained a lot of insights about water, including water stewardship, water security and water sanitation which I have no idea about it previously. It will definitely be of benefit for my PhD study as it is important to know the need of people deriving solutions for people. All in all, after all the talks and interaction with other water leader as well as experts, my will to contribute in water sector has become stronger. It is definitely our responsibility to make water a sustainable resource and to make water potable for everyone in the world.
The YWLS sessions, especially the Dialogue Session with Minister Fu and Water Professionals Panel were inspiring and the experience was rewarding. The opportunity to network with young water leaders from all over the world with different background and expertise was wonderful. This was an eye opener for me as this was not gained either in the overseas conferences. All in all, I have enjoyed the session very much and I think this is indeed a successful event.
By Ho Jia Shin