Solving water woes: The search is on

Singapore International Water Week has opened nominations for the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2016, which honours the people behind the best solutions in solving the world's water challenges.

water treatment plant
As parts of the world could soon be facing serious water crises, solutions to addressing water shortage are more urgently needed than ever. Image: Shutterstock

A global search for the most outstanding solutions to the world’s pressing water problems is now open.

Organisers of the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) have launched the campaign for the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2016, which calls for individuals or organisations to submit their nominations for breakthrough water technologies, policies or programmes that help solve society’s water problems.

Recent research predicts that more than 40 per cent of cities in the world relying on surface water will face shortages by 2040, yet water-related issues are the least addressed in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, the international organisation said in a report in November.

The international prize, therefore, seeks to honour outstanding solutions that have made a significant impact in addressing water issues. It is named after Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who has been credited with helping Singapore achieve a sustainable water supply.

The Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2016 laureate will receive S$300,000, a certificate, and a gold medallion at the award ceremony to be held during SIWW 2016.

SIWW is a global platform for the sharing and co-creation of innovative water solution set up by Singapore’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the country’s national water agency PUB, and events firm Experia.

Since the award began in 2008, it has awarded six organisations and individuals, which have addressed water scarcity through groundbreaking solutions in membrane technology, used water treatment, as well as inclusive water policies that benefit millions of lives.

The winners include California’s Orange County Water District (OCWD), the Yellow River Conservancy Commission and notable scientists and academicians Dr. Andrew Benedek, Prof. Gatze Lettinga, Dr. James Barnard, and Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht.

The OCWD won the award last year for its successful implementation of groundwater management and water reclamation using advanced water reuse technologies, as well as policies and community outreach that have increased public acceptance of water recycling.

Potential nominees could be leaders of international water firms and utilities, top academics in water research, policy and management, heads of international organisations, members of government, or distinguished individuals in the field of water, the organisers said in a statement.

Nominations for the award must be submitted on or before 1st June 2015.

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