The complexity of water has often been reflected by its location. From a precious drop to a powerful flow, it reminds us that water is anchored in its environment, shaping its surroundings. But the cruciality of water is also linked to its cross-boundary qualities, cross-cutting sectors, national frontiers, and actors.
Singapore International Water Week has played a strong role in reminding us, of our intersections, and common interests; Reminding us that connection and communication are not always given, but that opportunities for further collaboration are here to be grasped.
In my eyes, SIWW played a much-needed “connecting role”. Connecting water professionals, through a diversity of workshop and networking events, but also strengthening bridges between sectors, especially those linked to innovation. In the previous water-related international events I have been to, I was constantly learning about new processes, projects, or mechanisms. In Singapore I am able to say that I ‘discovered’ new element – coming from a politico-economic background it was inspiring to discuss with engineers, scientists and technology officers.
As a ‘young water leader’ I particularly appreciated the efforts of the organisers to connect further the generations, by offering a space for young professionals, to integrate the discussions and to build new relations, through intense debates or breakfast. Among those few days, I benefited from the experiences of many, and enjoy new meeting and discussion time.
The Young Water Leader Summit was defined to encourage us, to build our capacities and to prepare us for a future that many professionals like to remind us, lay in our hands. Therefore, particularly enjoyed the rationality and the applicability of both the sessions hold. Water Youth Network session was particularly interesting in its form, as I had never experienced working through a systemic format. This type of workshop had a positive receipt and impact from the participants within my group, first because it made us realise that despite not being a flood expert, there were areas where we could improve the overall system, and secondly because of the outcomes, the ‘action plan’. Despite limited resources and experiences, we realise that as young water leader there were areas where we could bring change, concrete change.
To conclude, I believe Singapore Water Week is not going to solve our world problem. SIWW is not going to prevent water scarcity, SIWW will not clean our river, nor will it alter climate change, and so on. But I believe SIWW is source of opportunities. It offers us some time and spaces to think, to collaborate and to bring with us our new findings to bridge the gap in water-problem solving.
By Maëlis Monnier