Water pressures industry must solve together

Thursday, 07 July, 2011

Pricing water to reflect its true value; encouraging innovation that reduces costs, improves efficiency and drives new revenue streams; and educating the public, particularly youth, on the importance of water are three of today’s most challenging pressures for the world’s water leaders, according to initial findings from yesterday’s Water Pressures workshop at Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) 2011.

Organised in partnership with Black & Veatch as part of the SIWW Water Leaders Summit, the workshop featured approximately 110 global leaders from more than 20 countries. Twelve internationally renowned chairpersons led delegates through a total of 25 rapid-fire conversations focused on three pressures that the water sector is facing today: policy pressures, innovation pressures and public pressures.

At the conclusion of the event, the chairpersons summarised the key findings from their groups’ discussions. These findings included the following recommendations for addressing all three pressures:

  1. Oil the wheels of innovation by creating policies that promote investment in new technologies to reduce costs, improve efficiency and drive new revenue streams.
  2. Collaborate with technology partners to determine the most cost-effective, creative solutions.
  3. Allow for additional investment in water by utilising technology to improve revenue collection and detection of non-revenue water.
  4. Ensure the price of water reflects its true value.
  5. Engage multiple stakeholders in designing transparent processes for mitigating policy pressures.
  6. Create the political environment that facilitates the implementation of difficult but necessary water policies.
  7. Don’t underestimate community support for tough water policies.
  8. Communicate how water is a critical resource by having strong leaders deliver messages in the right format with the appropriate level of language.
  9. Remember that changing public perception is an important first step for technology adoption.
  10. Educate the public, particularly youth, about the close links between water and health and the impact of water on energy and food.

“We’ve listened to and captured nearly a dozen hours of invaluable information that was shared during the roundtable discussions today,” said Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s global water business, who moderated the event. “This Singapore conversation helped identify solutions to these key challenges that the industry must solve in a collaborative way.”

Titled ‘Water Pressures - How to Adapt and Lead in a Changing Urban Environment’, the workshop’s detailed findings will be used to create a white paper summarising how leaders in the water sector are handling current challenges. A full set of results will be made available to the public on www.waterdialogue.com.

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