I have learned from the session on ‘water security for the future’ that it takes many coordination and commitment from major stakeholders to increase water resilience in urban cities. The responsibility likes not just in one stakeholder- but many stake holders that include: the Government, the media, private industries, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), the citizens, etc – to improve water resilience. It is a shared responsibility in which everyone has to play a role in. Change can be initiated by one stakeholder, but for change to have a long-term effect that stays in place, the whole community has to be involved with a solid action plan that has to be assessed before it is implemented. Therefore, it is essential to identify the stakeholders and outline their action plans in the commitment to increase water resilience in urban cities.
It seems that in the 21st century, private industries have to play a major role to contribute to sustainable urban living. Good water stewardship is a social responsibility which most companies should incorporate into their culture. It does not only entail the minimization of pollution which companies release into the environment, it includes trying to incorporating the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle into day-to-day operations of the company. Companies have to seek innovative solutions that can reduce carbon footprint, but at the same time look towards renewable energy as a source of energy. At the same time, companies should increase their active outreach to consumers on the ‘know how’ of recycling or proper disposal of the products. This could include instructions on their products on how to properly dispose of it. Similarly, companies could invest in advertisement to educate consumers if a certain product could be recycled.
There are some ways in which Singapore can adopt the better practices in planning for a liveable and sustainable future. For instance, Singapore can learn from their Danish counterparts on planning of sustainability on the needs of the citizen. In recent years, more Singaporeans have been adopting a healthy lifestyle, mainly through the form of cycling and jogging as exercises. Cycling is one of the great ways in which humans can get around with the benefit of reducing carbon footprint. If the Singapore government were to build individual pavements to provide a safer route of cyclist to get around, Singapore will be able to significantly cut their carbon footprint.
After hearing from the ministers from various countries and from the private industries, it can be safe to say that the hallmarks of a liveable and sustainable country include the following: willingness to invest in sustainable technology, prizing of water that reflects its true value and good governance. I am proud to say that Singapore have the following characteristics of a sustainable country, and it can be a good model in which other countries can adopt after. The success story of the Newater, the willingness of the government to invest in universities and private industries to creating cutting edge technology on water research, the set-up of the Environment and Water Industry to oversee sustainable living are just some examples that shows Singapore’s commitment to commit to sustainable living.
Prior to coming to SIWW, I was someone whom could only appreciate the beauty of the Science and Technology behind water treatment. But after attending seminars and speaking to individuals whom are truly passionate about water, it seems that technology only forms the tip of the iceberg in the water story. There are so many components to the water story- water governance, effects of climate change, water security, etc. This has definitely given me a better perspective of things to come, and to think how I can better contribute to the water story of the global world.
There was a comment, “Humans have created two things: war and boundaries” by Mr Michael Ma. This has stuck a deep chord within me because while countries have averted going to war, countries are still divided by boundaries that transcendence across countries. However, the technology and knowledge about increasing water resilience of countries is something that can be shared from one country to another.
By Shi Ming