IUCN, Regional Water and Wetlands Programme, Asia shares its recent publications on water at the Stockholm Water Week
During the the Stockholm Water Week 2010, the Asia Regional Water and Wetlands programme participated in events related to the release of IUCN publications on water issues from Asia. One event was about the brochure release and announcement of the upcoming publication Water Wealth-Investment in Basin Management in Asia-Pacific Region, and the other involved the presentation of the Stockholm Industry Water Award 2010 to Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) with whom IUCN has jointly published Sharing the Reform Process, Learning from the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.
The first event, related to the brochure release on basin management in the Asia-Pacific was part of a whole day session – Eye on Asia-- that focused on water quality issues and management in the region. Presentations by speakers highlighted good management efforts within the region. However, most of the good cases came from the economically developed countries like S Korea, Australia and Singapore. Examples from China, Indonesia and Nepal highlighted efforts being made at improving management practices in these countries where the quality of water is a major issue.
Water quality over the decades has progressively deteriorated in most countries except in countries like Japan and Singapore. Other issues that dominated the discussion included leadership at national and local level, data availability, transboundary water issues and wastewater reuse. Speakers were critical about the lack of adequate infrastructure and poor implementation of standards in most of the countries. The lack of cohesive implementation of policies in relation to transboundary water was another point of discussion both between countries' and within the same country.
Many speakers projected Singapore as a role model to be followed by other Asian countries. Singapore's ability to reduce pollution and reuse wastewater under a strict implementation and regulation regime along with the usage of high end technological solutions has transformed how water is managed in Singapore.
The upcoming joint publication of IUCN-ADB, Water Wealth-Investment in Basin Management in Asia-Pacific Region was announced. The publication presents about 40 case studies of good work related to basin management across the Asia Pacific region.
Overall, speakers agreed that the region is moving towards the right direction as regards to water management but needs water champions as catalysts both at the local and national level for improving the situation. Countries need to focus on reducing water pollution and implement strict standards for improving the situation.
The other event of the day was related to the award presentation ceremony to PPWSA which undertook reforms that transformed a war torn water utility into one of the best globally. Reforms resulted in financial sustainability, cost recovery, reduced non-revenue water, increased coverage and production, a balanced tariff with subsidy for the poor, an efficient and motivated work force, increased salaries and incentives for employees, efficient operation and maintenance processes, an up to date data base, cyclic billing and high collection ratio, customer outreach and transparency among others. For this transformation, the PPWSA was awarded the prestigious Stockholm Industry Water award. IUCN along with PPWSA has recently published Sharing the Reform Process: Learning from the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, which details out the reform process carried out by the water utility. IUCN shared this publication during the award giving ceremony.
Also, on the same day, a third event was organized by Water Programme, IUCN Global headquarters, Gland. During the day, another IUCN Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) publication-Negotiate: reaching agreements over water was released as part of the WANI toolkit by IUCN Global Water programme.