Singapore International Water Week 2012 Closes on a High

July 6, 2012
Sustainability, industrial water solutions among highlights

Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) 2012, held from July 1 to 5 and themed "Water Solutions for Liveable and Sustainable Cities,” achieved a new record of S$13.6 billion in total value for the announcements on projects awarded, tenders, investments and research and development (R&D) memorandums of understand (MOU) made at the event. Held together with the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore, the event attracted 18,554 participants from 104 countries/regions, and welcomed a record 750 participating companies. This year's Water Expo had 16 international group pavilions, including first-time participants, state of Illinois and Trenchless Asia 2012. Housed within 17,000 sq meters of covered exhibition space on a single floor, the Water Expo saw a two-fold increase in the number of participating companies since the inaugural event in 2008.

This year's focus on sharing and cocreation of water solutions was brought into sharp focus with a host of announcements on joint collaborations in R&D. Among them: national water agency PUB's MOU with MEIDEN Singapore for the first Ceramic Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Demonstration Plant to recycle industrial used waste; the signing of a Research Collaboration Agreement formalizing the alliance between DHI, NTU, and SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Office to make used water treatment energy-neutral; PUB's collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. on the research and development of integrated water infrastructure system for used water treatment and reclamation; and memsys' MOU with Senoko Energy for the construction of a membrane distillation system based on its novel vacuum multi-effect membrane-distillation process.

A number of new projects and investments were also announced at this year's Water Week, reinforcing SIWW as a key platform for water companies to share market trends and opportunities and explore collaborations. At the Middle East and North Africa Business Forum, Saudi Arabia's National Water Co. announced that it would be investing approximately S$11 billion on capital expenditure on municipal water infrastructure such as water and used water treatment plants, networks and mains etc, for four major cities—Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Taif—over the next five years. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the Philippines' leading water authority, announced its US$1.5 billion investment program to establish a Water Security Legacy for the 15 million residents of Metro Manila while Singapore-based United Engineers Ltd. announced three environmental engineering contracts worth over S$70 million, including two projects at the Changi Water Reclamation Plant and one for a waste-to-energy project at a poultry farm in Singapore. Home-grown water company Hyflux also officially launched its Hyflux Innovation Center, serving as the nerve center of Hyflux's global operations. Besides the executive and corporate offices, the center will also house its engineering design and technology commercialization departments and the R&D laboratories.

"Sustainability issues are at the forefront of development planning for cities and countries around the world, and water is a critical component that they have to incorporate early into this process," said Chew Men Leong, chief executive of PUB. "It is encouraging to see that SIWW has become an important meeting place for many of the leaders in this field, to share and exchange ideas and solutions with one another to address global water challenges. Sustainable water management is a critical issue that the world will need to solve through collaboration, and Singapore will continue to contribute in any way we can."

Industrial water solutions were another highlight this year. According to Global Water Intelligence, the industrial water and used water equipment market will grow at 7.5% per year over the next five years to reach a total value of $22 billion in 2016. With an encouraging turnout of over 200 participants, the inaugural Industrial Water Solutions Forum presented key industry perspectives on the challenges faced by the oil and gas, food and beverage, mining and chemical sectors and how innovative solutions can turn these challenges into business opportunities.

Returning with an expanded full-day program, TechXchange this year certainly saw strong interest with a turnout of over 200 participants, double that of the inaugural event in 2011, as well as a lineup of 21 water R&D innovations from Singapore and all over the world. The event once again presented a breeding ground for marrying investors and innovators for promising collaboration opportunities to commercialize water technologies. The feedback from the workshop has been positive, with investors expressing interest in several of the technology providers.

Prototypes of some of the new, cutting-edge local technologies, such as the Fish Activity Monitoring System, Aquaporin-based biomimetic membranes and the Parasitometer presented at the TechXchange, were also showcased at the Water Innovations@SIWW booth.

The five flagship programs—the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, Water Leaders Summit, Water Expo, Water Convention and Business Forums—yielded insights by some of the world's leading personalities including Helen Clark, administrator of United Nations Development Program and former prime minister of New Zealand, HE Kamal Nath, India's minister of Urban Development, HE Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, Pamela Cox, vice president (East Asia and the Pacific) at World Bank, Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's minister for the Environment and Water Resources, as well as Professor Mark van Loosdrecht, the 2012 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize laureate. Co-located with the third edition of the World Cities Summit and the inaugural CleanEnviro Summit Singapore, this year's SIWW also delivered even greater value to the delegates with broader opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and access to integrated solutions for sustainable urban development.

"We're very grateful for the stronger-than-ever industry support and delighted that the success of this year's event has strengthened its stature as the global platform for the sharing and co-creation of innovative water solutions," said Maurice Neo, managing director of SIWW. "This year, we reinforced the stage with a strong focus on industrial water solutions and commercialization of innovative water technologies. It is in line with our commitment to continue to add value to our delegates and partners and stay relevant as a key global water event."

The next SIWW will continue to be co-located with the World Cities Summit and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore to provide a more holistic approach for sharing and co-creating innovative water solutions in the broader context of urban sustainability. In the lead-up to 2014, the SIWW will continue to contribute insightful discussions and conversations by working with various partners and international organizations.

"In addition to our founding sponsors and strategic partners, we will also be working with other partners including the International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi, the Dutch water industry and the Global Water Intelligence to organize discussion platforms for specific topics, and you can expect to hear about these in the months ahead. This will pave the way for insightful conversations at SIWW 2014, which will be held together with the World Cities Summit and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore," added Neo.

Source: Hill+Knowlton Strategies