An overflowing need for water security is washing over the world, driven by shortages due to climate change and a growing global population. Add to this continuing COVID-19 challenges, which have shone a harsh spotlight on water inequalities in developing nations where access to clean water for drinking, sanitation and food production is scarce.
At the biennial Singapore International Water Week, held from 17 to 21 April 2022, global water leaders and experts from governments, utilities, academia and industry gathered in person to share and co-create solutions to these pressing urban water challenges – and more.
Organised by PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, SIWW2022 covered various aspects of the urban water cycle reflective of current trends and issues in and around the water sector. Key themes addressed included climate resilience, resource circularity and collective action to spur sustainability — all set to drive the sustainable water agenda over the coming years
What does the future hold for water safety and security? And how can public-private partnerships strengthen climate resilience and water supply in Singapore and beyond?
Read our insights from the convention to learn how innovation, collaboration and smart infrastructure will unleash a secure and sustainable water future.
Highlights from SIWW2022
Workshops, plenary forums and presentations on water security took place from 17 to 21 April
One of the first global water shows held in person in Asia Pacific since the COVID-19 pandemic hit
Attendees spanned leaders, experts and practitioners from governments, utilities, academia and industry
Key themes centred on the international water community’s role in climate mitigation and adaptation
The big (carbon) drop
Across the value chain of the water lifecycle — from sourcing and treatment for manufacturing, all the way through to consumer use — carbon consequences are rife. Discussions at SIWW2022 centred on efforts required by the water sector to achieve the the big drop in carbon impact. Aside from community education, governments, industry and utilities will need to come together to spur ecologically and economically sustainable water management through innovative urban solutions.
Resilience against sea level rise
Climate impacts caused by extreme weather events and swelling sea levels are on the rise. The past few years have seen a tide of water shortages during periods of drought and flash floods triggered by intense rainfall and overwhelmed drainage systems. Countries around the world, especially low-lying islands like Singapore, will need to act now to stem the tide. At the water convention, leaders discussed strategies and measures to prevent coastal and inland flooding. These included pre-emptive sea level projections and reimagining of coastlines to keep shores and people safe.
Untapping the potential of partnerships
In its efforts to secure and safeguard clean water access, the water sector faces a stream of regulatory and capital-raising headwinds. But improving water security is not just about large investments. The right partnerships can lower costs and capture greater benefits. SIWW2022 attendees explored the potential of cross-collaborations between regions, governments, industry and financial institutions to drive accessible, affordable and actionable smart water solutions and a more resilient interconnected system.
Tides of change in global water trends
Megatrends in the global water industry today point to opportunities for disruption. For instance, digital transformation has led to smart water innovations and digital tools driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning are driving better management of this precious resource. Water leaders at SIWW2022 highlighted six levers set to shape the way we obtain, produce and secure clean water: climate change, resource circularity, carbon neutrality, digitalisation, urbanisation and water reuse.
What will it take to build a water-secure world?
Read our report for a deep dive into how businesses can help to achieve this agenda
Climate change will strain global water supply in coming decades; businesses must act now to combat the risks
This article was first published in The Business Times on 6 June 2022.