Empowering the Future Circular Economy
Decades of linear thinking has spurred an exponential increase in the volume of waste in the face of accelerated economic growth. Responding to heightened urgency towards sustainability, circular resource management is emerging as the answer to reduce the impact of energy capital, waste generation and environmental degradation.
This theme took centre stage at the second installment of Singapore International Water Week’s (SIWW) Webinar Series held on 7 July, where over 500 online participants from 23 countries/regions gathered to discuss challenges, progress and the future that the current movers in the water industry are working towards in adopting sustainable and economically sound circular resource management.
Themed Resource Resilience: Moving from Linear to Circular Resource Management, the discussion was moderated by Cindy Wallis-Lage, President, Water, Black & Veatch, with the panel consisting of Diane Taniguchi-Dennis, Chief Executive Officer of Clean Water Services, Portland, Oregon (USA), Dr Pang Chee Meng, Chief Engineering & Technology Officer of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency (Singapore) and Jose Rene Gregory D. Almendras, President and Chief Executive Officer of Manila Water Company, Inc (Philippines).
“4% of the world’s electricity consumption is by the water sector. We have a lot of opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption as well as greenhouse gases.”
One of the World’s Top 25 Global Water Leaders
First row from left: Cindy Wallis-Lage ; Diane Taniguchi-Dennis
Second row from left: Pang Chee Meng ; Jose Rene Gregory D. Almendras
SETTING THE GLOBAL EXAMPLE
The panel of industry leaders highlighted that global mega trends and water challenges are catalysing a break from linear thinking and transforming a paradigm shift towards circular thinking.
Dr Pang Chee Meng highlighted PUB’s innovative methodologies to manage water in an integrated loop and the vision that made it happen. He also shared examples of how Singapore agencies work together to close the water, energy and waste loop, through leading-edge thinking and stakeholder collaboration.
In the Philippines, Manila Water Company operates in a challenging social-economic and geographical landscape but has been successful in seeing positive growth through consumer education and diversifying its use of waste. Jose Rene Gregory D. Almendras illustrates in the webinar, “there are thousands of hectares of ground covered in lahar in the areas near Mount Pinatubo [where] nothing would grow. And we talked to the farmers to help them grow crops again. From a by-product that nobody wants, now they are asking for the waste as fertiliser.”
There are even greater opportunities for developed nations with high consumption and advanced waste infrastructure in place, such as the United States. The Clean Water Services in Portland, Oregon engages in a multitude of innovative circular resource initiatives while aiming for an impressive net zero energy requirement for its treatment facilities. “We now produce 45% of our electrical needs and offset 70% of the natural gases needed for heating of the digestion systems. We set audacious goals and make the journey to get there by improving year after year,” adds Diane.
WATCH THE FULL WEBINAR
To catch the full stories and conversation, watch the webinar here.
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About the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) Webinar Series
The SIWW Webinar Series marks the start of a year-long series of webinars that SIWW will be curating with our partners. The first in the two-part SIWW Webinar Series - Urban Coastal Resilience was held on 6 July 2020.
The next edition of the Singapore International Water Week show will be held in Singapore, from 20 to 24 June, 2021. Save the Date!