Using the power of Big Data

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Everywhere you look, you find data. There is data from invoices, storage records and delivery records. There is data from millions of machines: sensors, meters, smartphones, CC TV cameras, industrial machines and endless gizmos. Then there is social data coming from Facebook likes, tweets, youtube views and more. There is data about data. As the world gets “smarter” with more collection of data, it is also getting more cluttered. Continue reading

Will Singapore be the world’s hydro-hub?

As the first Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) drew to a close on June 27 this year, it was clear that the country’s efforts to position itself as the hydro-hub of the world were paying off. Singapore has always been a favourite stop for water practitioners around the region, who come to marvel at the desalination and water reuse facilities. With SIWW slated to take place every year, this trend is only going to gain further impetus. Continue reading

Experts deliberate on Asian Water and Sanitation

At the Experts Consultation Meeting held in Singapore on Thursday, a gamut of issues ailing the water and sanitation sector were put forth by experts from funding organisations, water utilities, researchers, NGOs and a slew of other organisations.

Water experts are working around the clock to prepare a forward-looking document called Asian Water and Development Outlook (AWDO) which will act as a guide for policy makers of the region. AWDO will articulate the overall directions for water and sanitation activities needed to be pursued in an integrated manner by national leaders.

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SEAWUN has a sea of work ahead

When the South East Asian Water Utilities network (SEAWUN) was formed five years ago, it sounded like a great idea. The developing countries of the Asian region face similar problems, and the root of it all is poor governance. From this thick root emerges a tree of endless problems of mismanaged utilities, polluted waterways, low tariffs, high non revenue water, illegal water connections, intermittent water supply, low consumer awareness, lack of skilled manpower, unserved urban poor and whatever else one can imagine.

SEAWUN states that it goal is to help the member utilities improve their performance in the delivery of water and sanitation services for all, including operation and management efficiency, achieving financial viability, and advocating for sector reforms for improved policy environment, contributing to realise the goal “Water for All”. Continue reading

Good governance is the key

“In most Asian countries, there is a separate ministry for water, yet their water is so poorly managed,” says Prof Asit Biswas, winner of Stockholm Water Prize for 2006. He contrasts this with the fact that many European countries have no separate ministry for water, and water is managed either by the Environment or Health or Agriculture Ministry. Yet these countries are doing a fine job of managing their water.The point to note is that without good governance and best practices, it doesn’t really matter whether water has a separate ministry, whether it is in the public or private sector, and whether it is centralised or decentralised. Governance has been but empty rhetoric in most of Asia with only a few islands of excellence such as Singapore, Shanghai and Phnom Penh. Continue reading