International Water Association Asia Pacific Regional Group Conference
The 8th International Water Association (IWA) Asia Pacific Regional Group Conference and Exhibition was recently held in Hong Kong under the theme of “Smart Solutions for Water Resilience”. The conference has attracted experts and delegates from more than 30 countries and regions to exchange views on issues of water resources policy and management, smart water supply, sustainable development and climate change. This time, I have specially invited the Chairman of the Organising Committee (OC) of this international conference, Mr CHAU Sai-wai, Deputy Director of Water Supplies (DD of WS), and the Vice Chairman, Mr MAK Ka-wai, Deputy Director of Drainage Services (DD of DS), to give you the conference details.
Sharing experience in water resources development
As the conference host this year, Hong Kong has welcomed more than 1 000 renowned water experts, academics, and government and industry delegates from around the world to share experience of different cities in water resources development. Held biennially, the conference is a major water event in Asia Pacific region and one of the important communication platforms for water industry leaders and professionals in the region. On this occasion, the conference was organised by the IWA, the IWA Asia Pacific Regional Group and the IWA Regional Committee of Hong Kong, China, and co-organised by the Water Supplies Department (WSD), the Drainage Services Department (DSD) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management Hong Kong Branch, with the support of the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Environmental Protection Department.
The 3-day convention and exhibition was held in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai with a lively and vibrant atmosphere both inside and outside the venue. The participants all grasped the opportunity to share their experience in water management, and explore ways to apply advanced technologies smartly to meet challenges brought by extreme weather in recent years in order to provide “solutions for water resilience”. They also visited waterworks and drainage infrastructures and environmental facilities in Hong Kong.
Building closer collaborative relationships among water industry players
The OC Chairman and DD of WS, Mr CHAU Sai-wai, says that this is a very good opportunity for Hong Kong and other regions to learn from water management experience, which can enhance capabilities in handling climate change and water resources management, and foster closer partnerships and mutual exchanges in the water industry. About 40 exhibitors took part in the exhibition held during the conference to showcase the latest products, technologies and solutions to water supply, flood prevention and sewage treatment available worldwide. By hosting the conference and exhibition, Hong Kong could also enhance its international image.
Proactively improving water resources management
Mr CHAU Sai-wai says that Hong Kong has distinguished advantages in water supplies. The WSD has been providing quality water to the public and striving to explore new water resources which are not susceptible to climate change, such as desalinated seawater and reclaimed water. However, the Government must be well-prepared to tackle the worse-than-expected impact of climate change on rainfall. We are proactively implementing the Total Water Management Strategy to contain the growth of water demand and formulate measures to combat extreme weather conditions brought by climate change, for example improving the management of water distribution networks and reducing water loss so as to ensure Hong Kong’s reliable supply of water to meet the demand.
Exchanging experience in flood prevention and sewage treatment
According to the OC’s Vice Chairman and DD of DS, Mr MAK Ka-wai, the DSD has much experience in flood prevention and sewage treatment, such as relocation of sewage treatment works to caverns, sewage treatment with new techniques, adoption of movable weir design in stormwater storage tanks, and construction of drainage tunnels at the mid-levels. He expects that exchanges with industry players, experts and academics in the conference would create synergies and inspire innovative thinking. Besides, he says that the participants have discussed and explored solutions in tackling important issues like the rise of flood water and tidal levels caused by extreme weathers, the increase in water demand and sewage treatment capacity due to global population growth and the use of groundwater.
The world has been awakened by the impacts brought by climate change and we must take actions. Water resources must be managed in a smart, sustainable and equitable manner. Government departments have been implementing various works with innovative thinking and at the same time striving for continuous improvement to enhance the operational efficiency of various facilities with the establishment of world-class water supply, flood prevention and sewage treatment systems. I believe that through this international conference where experience was exchanged and shared among various regions, our colleagues can further understand the innovative techniques and advanced methods of water resources management so that we can continue to render dedicated services to the community and promote sustainable development of Hong Kong.
10 November, 2019