25,000 people to participate in Singapore's World Water Day activities

Wayne Chan Channel NewsAsia 21 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE: Singapore's commemoration of World Water Day this year will see a record 25,000 people gathering at 15 locations islandwide in support of water this Saturday.

10,000 of these participants will walk, cycle and paddle across waterways, reservoirs and between ABC Waters (Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters) sites with small blue pails.

Symbolic of how people in developing countries have to walk an average of six kilometres every day to fetch water, both the distance and the pails serve as a reminder to conserve water.

PUB, the national water agency, said that 20,000 people took part in last year's activities and it aims to have a 20 per cent increase in community participation this year.

Themed "Singapore Celebrates World Water Day: Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters for All", activities on the day also include cleaning up of water bodies, water monitoring, guided nature walks, and the launch of learning trails.

National water agency PUB's 3P Network Director George Madhavan says there's a growing awareness that water is a precious resource in the community.

"Last year we had 100 partners, this year it's gone up to 125 partners. We also see more interest groups being formed to keep our water ways clean and also to share the important message that water is scarce," he said.

One of the things that will be launched at the event is an iPad application that students can use to bring others on learning trails at Lorong Halus Wetlands. Six new ABC Waters learning trails that will also be launched on Saturday.

Adding to the festivities will also be some attempts to make it into the Singapore Book of Records. Jurong Lake, for example, will host Singapore's biggest-ever Mass Water Filtration Exercise.

Another attempt at the record books will be at Sengkang Floating Wetland, where 300 Anderson Secondary School students will try to build the largest floating raft made from recycled drink cans.

Various other organisations will also be recognising World Water Day.

Singapore Post, for example, has launched a "Reservoirs of Singapore" stamp collection, profiling 10 different reservoirs in Singapore. It features designs by Don Low of Urban Sketchers, a local sketching interest group.

A glossy photo book of 17 ABC Waters sites, "Knowing Your ABCs", will also be launched by the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) and PUB.

PUB will also recognise winners of the Water Conservation Video Competition 2010/2011, which saw primary school students creating 45-second videos of what water conservation means to them.

MacRitchie Reservoir will see the launch of the Learning Trail Passport, a collection of learning trails at seven different ABC Waters sites.

400 scouts from the Singapore Scout Association will also attend the NEWater Scientist Programme at The NEWater Visitor centre on Saturday. The programme will teach them how to install water saving devices in their neighbours' homes to spread the water conservation message to the community.

On March 24, cub scouts from the association will also qualify for the NEWater Scientist Badge, as well as the Coca Cola Live Positively Water Badge by attending the World Water Day Special Water Badges Programme.

International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 to raise awareness on the importance of caring for water and water sustainability.

World Water Day in Singapore will kick off on March 24, with a 2km morning walk for 3,000 participants from Gardens by the Bay to Marina Barrage.

Simultaneously at Kolam Ayer ABC Waterfront, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim will lead 80 kayakers and 50 dragonboaters on a 5km rowing expedition to Marina Barrage.

100 runners from Team Fatbird and 100 cyclists from Joyriders Singapore will also be travelling from various locations, before ending their routes at Marina Barrage.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan will launch Singapore's celebration of the day at Marina Barrage, where the cyclists, kayakers and dragon-boaters converge.