A Water Champion for Others
“There will be no life without water. There is a connection between water, environment and cities.” – Mr. Koh
Ever since my undergraduate education, I have always been interested in environment. However, I found my calling for Water during my senior year while I was taking my undergraduate degree. I have advocated for improvement of water management ever since.
I remember doing my research in effects of aquaculture on water quality and soil quality at lake ecosystems in the Philippines. At first, I considered it just a simple number-heavy, scientific research that will let me pass my subject. After the research however, I realized that there’s more to it than just the numbers and figures. The research showed that aquaculture definitely has an effect on the lake health which causes negative effects on fish health as well. It was evident that in this kind of situation, lake health isn’t the only thing that gets affected; human health is also affected as well.
Everything is interconnected that if you move just a small piece of the whole structure, it could send everything toppling down. It was then that I realized how important Integrated Water Management is and how considering it in water-related activities can significantly improve the state of the body of water in question.
Being invited to the Singapore International Water Week, I sat amongst great young leaders, young professionals, and experienced adults. We heard lectures that spoke of both familiar and unfamiliar words. We learned about recent information and data about the current state of water, new technological developments in water related institutions, engagement opportunities for different stakeholders, and opinions of world leaders regarding certain issues.
I felt that although we can claim to have knowledge about water issues, we still have much to learn. I appreciate all the lectures and seminars that were delivered to us throughout the whole summit. It provided me not only technical knowledge on water; it also improved my skills that I learned in my experience in project development. Definitely there are things that you can only learn by experience and peers. Learning is after all not limited to the four corners of the classrooms that we hold our lessons in.
Sitting beside leaders from different countries, hearing their stories about their homeland, I realized that there is no one-fit solution to a certain problem. What may work for a certain country may not necessarily work for another country. Solutions must be flexible and must take into consideration several factors that range from governance, stakeholders, location among others. Sitting beside these leaders, I realize that I although we may have different ways of achieving our goals, we always do these for the best of the people that rely on us. I believe that the Singapore International Water Week has provided me with a more global perspective about Water Governance and Management.
Furthermore, having experienced the Singapore International Water Week has strengthened my desire to be a water leader not just for the betterment of my own life but for the sake of others. I have already decided long before to pursue a career in water; the summit has strengthened my drive to pursue it. I will definitely be a Water Champion for others.
Insight piece: Day 1
It is evident that different countries have different issues and different opportunities in development. These however make water development colorful and interesting. There are many stakeholders in development and we always think of the bigger picture however we must not forget that we ourselves are a stakeholder in development.
Insight piece: Day 2
You need not be a water expert to be a water champion. You can be from the food industry, the business sector, or anywhere else as long as you have one drive – the development of water for everyone. You can be a water champion is you are willing to fight for the body of water that you are passionate about. Be a water leader for others.
Mitsuhashi, Masaki Villagracia
Sub Regional Advisor
TUNZA South East Asian Youth Environment Network
United Nations Environment Programme