he World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a new set of guidelines on drinking-water safety at the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) yesterday.
The guidelines aim to address water security issues that impede access to safe and clean water for low-income communities across the world. The WHO estimates that 2 million people die from waterborne diseases each year, and billions more suffer illness around the world.
Report & Analysis: WHO releases new guidelines on drinking water quality [Xinhua, 4 Jul 2011]
“The main challenge is not the technology,” said Bruce Gordon, a WHO officer. “It’s sustaining the behaviour change.”
Although WHO guidelines have previously stressed the safety of water after it has reached consumer hands, the last decade has seen a shift toward maintaining the quality of water supplies.
The document, updated on latest scientific evidence, includes hundreds of risk assessments on waterborne hazards, as well as guidance on emerging contaminants of concern. The new edition also details, for the first time, the impact of climate change on water quality.
Report & Analysis: Safe drinking-water guide launched [CNA, 4 Jul 2011]
Yesterday, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced that the National Research Foundation would channel $140 million into research and development in the water sector, including projects like bio-mimicry and low-energy seawater desalination.
Mr Tharman said the government hopes to double jobs in the sector to 11,000 by 2015.
“Urban sustainability is a major challenge facing the world today,” said Mr Tharman. “Yet it presents an opportunity to revitalise city living when a long-term integrated approach is adopted to address this challenge.”
Report & Analysis: Tharman: More funding for R&D in water sector [AsiaOne, 5 Jul 2011]
Over the weekend, the Public Utilities Board commissioned the Punggol-Serangoon Reservoir Scheme, increasing Singapore’s water catchment to two thirds of its land area. The scheme is part of the PUB’s ongoing effort to ensure a reliable long-term water supply.
The Environment and Water Industry Programme Office also recently sponsored a $5 million water treatment plant in Choa Chu Kang. Over the next 18 months, the new plant will test the use of new ceramic membrane technology, touted to be cheaper and more durable. This is the first time such technology has been used outside the Netherlands.
Report & Analysis: Water treatment set to get revamp [CNA, 4 Jul 2011]