The SCPW has attended the Waterlinks Forum 2018 held at Bayanihan Centre of UNILAB in Pasig City from 25-27 September 2018.
More than 200 water operators, industry leaders, sector professionals, and policy makers from various countries attended the forum and the trade exhibition which demonstrated the latest technologies in water and wastewater management.
The Forum tackled the subject of the water-food-energy-climate change nexus as a way to solve Asia’s water crisis. The forum generated much discussion and conversation on the extent of water’s dependence on energy and the move towards energy neutrality; the dependence of energy on water, especially hydropower and fossil fuel-based energy; and the dependence of food production on both water and energy – all of which, singly and jointly, are impacted by climate change. A half day session convened with UNESCO also explored the potential for the establishment of a Water Alliance for Megacities with presentations from the megacities of Kolkata, India; Seoul, Korea; and our very own, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Some important takeaways from the forum included:
- The big-picture theme on water-food-energy-climate change nexus is a deliberate decision to expand the straightforward business of water that considers the worlds sustainable future.
- There is an interdependent and complex web of relationships that govern the access and use of water – where water depends on energy and food production depends on water and energy.
- Expansion of cities and the need for agriculture will create a strain on competing sectors for water use; meanwhile, the energy required for water production is compromised by the effects on climate change.
- The careful use of technology, continuing efforts in awareness, and the engagement of all actors are needed to transform the way we make and provide water in Asia.
- There is a critical need to decouple water sector growth from energy consumption and to reduce water leakage especially as accelerating demand for water is consequent a rapidly urbanising Asia.
- The reuse of water is a necessity in achieving sustainable water supply in light of rapid city growth, environmental degradation, and resource strained governments.
- Tremendous challenges face the water sector from significant urbanisation in Asia, from aging infrastructure to increase effects from climate change – there is a lot of work to secure water in the future.
- The approach of the water sector in the past decade is insufficient to secure water for future generations, there is a need to do things differently through the power of data analytics and leveraging these technologies to respond to climate change and scarce water resource.
- The trend is in turning wastewater facilities into resource factories – water from used water; energy from bio gas; rare earths from dust; and fertilizer from nutrients.
- Integrative solutions that see the nexus framework through a lens of integrated solutions.
- Partnerships are key and a complex set of relationships require comprehensive partnerships.
- Technology is a game changer – you either choose to be the disruptor or to become disrupted; the technology of the future is now.
- Water governance is fragmented and the time is now to collaborate.
- Digital disruption in customer engagement with water resource through smart meters, machine learning, and AI among others, might not be distributed evenly but it is happening and points to the future of the water sector.
- IoT holds lots of promises in detecting and plugging water leaks and wastage which can help water utilities tackle NRW related issues.
To know more about the Waterlinks Forum 2018 please visit the forum website which also contains the presentations and photo gallery of the event.