Building Climate-Resilient Water Utilities in Urban Asia
The 2016 WaterLinks Forum was held at the Dusit Hotel Thani, in Manila, Philippines, from 5-7 October. Billed, “Building Climate-Resilient Water Utilities in Urban Asia,” it was a major learning event that brought together urban water practitioners and policy makers from Asia and the Pacific to understand their climate scenarios better, become more familiar with a range of issues, and explore adaptation options. Close to 300 delegates from 24 countries participated in numerous sessions that included plenary seminars, workshops, and panel discussions. These discussions were competently delivered by universally renowned experts and practitioners in water and wastewater, climate and geoscience, environmental and urban development, and development finance.
The forum also featured a technical exhibition showcasing 16 international and local water technology firms, industry suppliers and operators that demonstrated excellent practices in various facets of operations and water management.
The Forum concluded on a high note. Participants saw the imperatives of understanding climate science and the movements of key climate parameters. They obtained insights into the laboratories of technology and how their application would enable climate resilience in a period mired in growing water scarcity and uncertainty. Accessing climate finance was recognized as a function of diligent and rigorous preparatory work, but a necessary ingredient to insulate against future shocks. And the value of partnerships in building capacities and sharing knowledge was clearly noted by participating decision-makers, managers and leaders most of whom were given new, compelling reasons to identify the vulnerabilities of their respective operating environments, and thereafter design more responsive solutions – i.e., building better, training, emergency response plans, and efficiency reforms.
If even a small part of these takeaways are translated into action, the Forum will have served a useful purpose.