Posted by: conferencebay | May 16, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere… But Not A Drop To Spare

If there’s any one country that knows first-hand how precious potable water is, it’s Singapore.

The island has no natural freshwater rivers or lakes that would supply its citizens with drinking water. To combat this problem, reservoirs and catchment areas have been created to collect rainfall. Singapore also has to rely on water imports from Malaysia to sustain its needs. So much effort to collect water for a country that’s completely surrounded by the sea.

It’s no surprise then, that Singapore is the host country for the first ever Singapore International Water Week. The event, to be held on 23rd to 27th June 2008, comprises of a World Leader’s Summit, a Water Convention, a Water Expo and a Water Festival. Another first is the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. The prize, consisting of S$300,000, a gold medal and an award certificate was given to Dr Andrew Benedek. What did he do to garner this award? He invented the low-pressure membranes used to recycle non-potable water into potable water. Yes. He made NEWater possible!

NEWater is in reality, recycled water. The membranes that Dr Benedek has pioneered allow sewage water to be collected and transformed into safe, drinking water again. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, and maybe even a little gross, but the treated water is actually cleaner than the water treated from reservoirs. How do they do it then? The whole process involves three steps: microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and disinfection using ultraviolet light. The result is a high-grade purified product that costs much less then desalination.

Obviously the whole purpose of the Water Week is to get the world’s leading experts in together on one platform to discuss new ways to maintain the world’s water supply. The Water Leaders Summit will see ministers, government officials and industry leaders (all “by invitation-only”, so you can be assured they know what they’re talking about!) exchanging their ideas and views for more effective delivery and implementation of new technologies that are available at the moment. If you’re in the industry, this could be a really good platform for hearing about what the government has in mind to ensure that Singapore doesn’t run out of water in the future.

Another good event to attend is the Water Convention. This one promises to bring in the scientists – industry practitioners, researchers and academics – to share the latest advances in water and used water treatment technologies. Examples of their applications in an urban environment will also be demonstrated and discussed. It’s one thing to talk about how the technologies will work in theory, but it’s a whole different ballgame to actually put those technologies into practice in the real world.

Of course, all this talk and demonstrations would mean nothing if nobody buys the technologies to implement. That’s where the Water Expo comes in. Buyers and sellers of these technologies and solutions will meet at this tradeshow. Over 200 international participants are slated to attend with a wide range of practical solutions and products. In addition, there will also be special side events such as product launches, demonstrations and talks. Plus, it will also feature testimonials and case studies from international and local companies who have firsthand knowledge about the water treatment technologies that they have used.

But of course, it’s all not just business at the Singapore International Water Week. The very act of exploring new technologies for water supply in a country with limited natural water supply is meant to be celebrated. Throughout the week, festivities have been organised at the various catchment areas and reservoirs. Delegates to the water convention, as well as locals, get to enjoy a range of water activities, tours to the country’s water attractions and even performances in conjunction with the Singapore Arts Festival.

So whether you’re a delegate or not, the Singapore Water Week seems to have something for everyone. If you’re interested in attending the conference, visit our website at Conference Bay and place a bid. There might still be a few spaces left!

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