Learning from the best in Water Quality Management 8 – 12 Nov 2016

For five days in November this year, both local and international experts in the field of water quality gathered at the Pan Pacific Hotel to share their knowledge and insights with 28 participants from the region.

The Singapore Water Academy held the Water Quality Management course,the inaugural course under the Singapore Water Management Series, was specially designed by water practitioners for fellow water professionals in urban water management.

An immersive five-day programme combining Singapore’s experience with international expertise, the course was well-attended by local and international participants from 13 countries and regions, from both private and public utilities and the water industry. The course comprised classroom sessions, panel dialogues and site visits to four key PUB facilities – Marina Barrage, Lower Seletar Waterworks, the Water Quality Laboratory at Waterhub and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

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On the first day, PUB’s Deputy Chief Executive (Policy & Development), Mr. Chua Soon Guan delivered the opening remarks and hosted participants at the Welcome Breakfast. PUB’s Senior Advisor, Mr. Chan Yoon Kum opened the sessions with an overview of Singapore’s Approach to Sustainable Water Supply.

Designed for water practitioners for fellow water professionals

The course was taught by a renowned panel of local and international experts who covered extensive technical ground and practical applications.

We were pleased to have:

Prof Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University, USA; Stockholm Water Prize winner 2016

Mr Chan Yoon Kum, Senior Advisor, PUB, Singapore’s national water agency

Dr David Cunliffe, Principal Water Quality Adviser; and Public Health Services, SA Health, Australia

Dr Lim Mong Hoo, Chief Specialist, PUB, Singapore’s national water agency

Prof Ong Choon Nam, Director, NUS Environmental Research Institute, National University of Singapore and Professor, School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Prof Shane Snyder, Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Arizona, USA

Prof Thomas J. Grizzard, Professor Emeritus, VirginiaTech, USA

Prof Vernon Snoeyink, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

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From left: Dr David Cunliffe, Prof Joan Rose, Prof Thomas Grizzard and Prof Vernon Snoeyink

Networking events

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(left photo) PUB’s Chief Executive, Mr. Ng Joo Hee; (right photo) PUB’s Deputy Chief Executive (Operations), Mr. Tan Yok Gin networking with participants at lunch.

Arriving as strangers and leaving as friends

Panel dialogues and lively discussions with trainers and fellow course mates saw the sharing of various challenges and practical solutions from source pollution issues to algae blooms. It was also an excellent networking platform to make friends with fellow water professionals from all around the world. A lively dialogue session with PUB’s Chief Engineering & Technology Officer (CETO), Harry Seah brought about discussion on the technical challenges some of the overseas participants face back home and how PUB’s experience on similar issues could be used as reference for them.  CETO also provided insight on PUB’s approach on using technology to optimise PUB’s operations to provide water that is safe and of consistent quality for consumers.

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Saturday at Bishan Park

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As part of the experiential learning approach, participants visited  Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to understand more about ABC Waters. Starting the last day of the course with breakfast at Canopy Café, it was a time to reflect and share collective insights gleaned in the last four days.

Following breakfast, participants went on a walk to understand more about the park, the river’s flood  warning system and the bioengineering techniques that transformed the 3km utilitarian drain into a beautiful meandering river.

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The inaugural Singapore Water Quality Management course saw overwhelming response with 28 participants from 13 countries/ regions. More than two-thirds came from Southeast Asia (Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore), with the rest from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Qatar, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and even as far as Uganda and United Kingdom.

Here’s what our participants had to say:

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“For me, the course offered the ability to get an idea of references by studying the frameworks, but also to see them in practice by going out on site visits. I found that very valuable.” – Dr Charmian Abbott, Chief Scientist (United Utilities, United Kingdom)

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“The take home message for me is the importance of water quality, especially in our raw water resource.….. I will take a more holistic approach to what I do, working on our water safety plan and adopting a multi-barrier approach, so as to provide safe drinking water to our customers.” – Michael Yagro, General Manager Operations (Eda Ranu, Papua New Guinea)

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My key learning through the course is understanding how the upstream water quality would impact my work operating the water treatment plant. The site visit to the waterworks was also directly relevant to my field of work and allowed me to learn the best practices applied in Singapore.” – Shiela Marie Afuang, Head Water Treatment Plant Operations (Maynilad Water Services, Philippines)

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“The course is extremely well-designed and the diversity of participants was a real bonus. This really added value in understanding the challenges other countries face and how they deal with them. Thus, the course offered a rich breadth of information that I have not commonly found in other courses. I was pleased to learn that water source protection is an equally important foremost concern for other utilities all around the world, and confirmation of the leading water quality issues to tackle. In addition, I really appreciate how the senior staff of PUB took time to join us and explain policy perspectives for Singapore.” – Mr Andrew Wyber, Strategy & Risk Manager (Water Quality Branch), Water Corporation, Australia

 


Future SgWM courses will run in 2017, with the next three focus areas on Water Reuse, Urban Flood Management & ABC Waters, and Water Supply networks.

Find out more about future courses at: www.pub.gov.sg/sgwa

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