Researchers Discuss Value of Water for Urban Sustainability in Asia


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  • 2015•05•20     Daegu

    UNU-IAS organized a side event on Enhancing Urban Water Environment in Developing Countries in Daegu, Republic of Korea during the Seventh World Water Forum 2015.

    The event aimed to address the current state of the urban water environment, as well as different challenges and feasible solutions to improving it, particularly for cities in developing countries in Asia.

    The session began with a presentation by Prof. Chongrak Polprasert (Thammasat University), who cautioned that inadequate wastewater treatment causes crucial environmental problems and is an affront to human dignity in the era of sustainability. While wastewater treatment systems are not sufficient, demand for water is increasing due to urban development and a growing population. He emphasized the importance of making this a political priority in developing countries, and suggested four drivers of a water revolution: knowledge, technology, financing and awareness.

    Following Prof. Polprasert’s presentation, Dr. Mishra Kumar Binaya (UNU-IAS Research Fellow) introduced the UNU-IAS Water and Urban Initiative (WUI). Pointing to the crucial need for creating awareness and science-based policy tools to address pressing challenges and incorporate these into development goals, he talked about the relevance of the WUI project.

    Urban development specialist Dr. Lilia SD. Raflores discussed urban water pollution in Metro Manila in the Philippines, where most of the surface water has failed purity tests or has been poorly rated in quality assessments. She identified challenges to tackling urban water pollution, such as encroachment of informal settlements, slow implementation of solid waste management, inadequate sewage and sanitation, lack of groundwater resource assessment, and complicated governance involving multiple agencies.

    Mr. Niranjan Shrestha (Chief Environmental Officer, Environmental Services Nepal Pvt. Ltd.) reported on the water quality of the Bagmati River in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley. He determined the source of pollution to be the direct disposal of untreated sewage, along with the combined sewage and storm water systems. He also pointed out concerns about human health and ecosystem risks caused by pollution.

    Dr. Apip (Researcher, Research Center for Limnology, Indonesian Institute of Science) introduced the major urban water issues of Jakarta from both an environmental and a water resources point of view, and noted the lack of satisfactory access to clean drinking water and sewage systems.

    Ms. Phan Thi Thuy Hoan (Researcher, Center for Environmental Research, Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology, and Climate Change) pointed out that industrialization, urbanization and health care needs have generated increased demand for water as well as more wastewater discharge in Hanoi, Viet Nam. She proposed the implementation of a wastewater treatment system for hospitals, a modern water treatment system for urban areas, and efforts to enhance community awareness.

    Asked to share their opinions about the value of water for urban sustainability and urban development, the presenters stressed the importance of clean water for human health and raising the value of cities. They also proposed adding functions to clean water from ecological, economic and social perspectives to increase its value. The discussion was concluded with a proposal to meet at the next World Water Forum to share concrete outcomes of the WUI project.

    Working papers can be downloaded from the following links:

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    UNU-IAS organized this event as part of the Water and Urban Initiative (WUI). The WUI project aims to provide policy tools and an information platform that assists developing countries in planning and implementing environmental policies for sustainable development.

  • Urban Development and Water Sustainability — Number 01, April 2015 Chongrak Polprasert, Thammasat University (Pathumthani, Thailand)

    (1.2 MB PDF)

    Understanding the Water and Urban Environment of a Megacity: The Case of Metro Manila, Philippines — Number 02, April 2015 Lilia SD. Raflores (Manila, Philippines)

    (343.4 KB PDF)

    Current Status of Water Environment in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal — Number 03, April 2015 Niranjan Shrestha, Environmental Services Nepal Pvt. Ltd. (Lalitpur, Nepal)

    (508.6 KB PDF)

    Overview of Jakarta Water-Related Environmental Challenges — Number 04, April 2015 Apip, Research Centre for Limnology, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

    (852.9 KB PDF)

    The Current Status and Solutions for Urban Water Environment in Hanoi City — Number 05, April 2015 Phan Thi Thuy Hoan, Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology, and Climate Change (Hanoi, Viet Nam)

    (930.8 KB PDF)