PUB Releases 'Blue Paper' on Global Water Issues

Singapore's national water agency, PUB, has produced the "Blue Paper," following the success of the inaugural Singapore International Water Week this year. The paper underscores the importance of finding sustainable solutions to the world's water and used water problems, according to a Sept. 9 press release.

Yaacob Ibrahim, Ph.D., Singapore's minister for the Environment and Water Resources, released the paper at the International Water Association's (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition in Vienna, Austria. This event was attended by some 3,000 water experts from around the world.

The 11-page document summarizes major water issues raised during the Water Leaders Summit as well as the dialogue with Singapore's Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, during the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize Award Ceremony held in June.

Water issues addressed in the Blue Paper include the following:

• Growth of cities: City-planning all over the world poses common challenges – infrastructure, demand for resources, and environmental degradation. Tackling these challenges needs action on different fronts – political commitment, development of new technologies, and greater private-sector participation in financing.

• Limited clean water resources: Good governance is fundamental to sound water management. Cities need to take an integrated approach by harnessing business, technology, and government with sound, market-driven sustainable policies.

• Cost of ignoring nature's laws: Cities and countries need to find a balance between ecology and economic development. The prevention of water pollution and protection of the environment needs to keep pace with economic progress.

• Technological advancements: Reverse osmosis and membrane technologies have made desalination, water recycling, and other purification techniques cheaper. Governments are in a good position to influence and sustain extensive and large-scale research and development by providing leadership, strategic planning, and support.

Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said, "The Blue Paper notes that improvements in technology can certainly help, but these technological improvements are not translating into practical water solutions for cities because of poor governance."

The Blue Paper urges political and social leaders to find political commitment and determination at the multilateral, national, and local levels to implement tough decisions.

To read the Blue Paper, visit www.siww.com.sg.

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