Singapore commemorates World Water Day

Monica Kotwani Channel NewsAsia 24 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE: Singapore launched its largest World Water Day commemoration at the Marina Barrage Saturday morning.

The launch was officiated by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

President Tan arrived by boat, to a drum fanfare by pupils of Fuhua Primary School.

In his speech before the launch, President Tan said water security cannot be taken for granted.

He said: "Demand for water is expected to double over the next 50 years, and unfortunately, changing climate patterns have added to the uncertainty of our limited water supply.

"We will need the collective efforts of every individual, young and old, not just to conserve water in our daily activities, but to also keep our water resources clean for long-term sustainability."

Also taking part in the launch ceremony were about 500 cyclists, kayakers and dragon boaters. They converged at Marina Barrage, after having meandered through key 'Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters' sites islandwide.

More than 25,000 people are expected to turn up at 15 locations islandwide to mark World Water Day, with some 10,000 people expected at Marina Barrage alone.

Over at Jurong Lake, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam joined more than 1,000 people to set the record for Singapore's biggest-ever Mass Water Filtration Exercise.

At the Lorong Halus Wetland, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and park-goers also helped raise awareness on the importance of conserving water by going on a walk that symbolised the distance many in other parts of the world journey for clean water.

Mr Teo also spoke of the need to reduce water consumption.

"Each person in Singapore uses 154 litres of water per day - that's quite a lot. What we're trying to do is in ten years time, to reduce that amount to 147 litres per day," he said.

This year's theme is 'Singapore Celebrates World Water Day: Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters for All'.

World Water Day in Singapore is organised by national water agency, PUB, along with its 125 community partners.

It is Singapore's fourth commemoration of World Water Day.

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development designated March 22 as World Water Day to raise awareness on the importance of preserving global water resources.

- CNA/cc/ac

10,000 pails, 1 message: Save water
World Water Day marked with activities across the island and conservation message
Kezia Toh Straits Times 25 Mar 12;

More than 10,000 people toting small blue pails dotted the island yesterday to mark World Water Day. They walked, cycled or paddled with the buckets, symbolic of how people in developing countries trudge long distances to fetch water, and as a reminder to cherish the Republic's water resources.

At the main event at Marina Barrage, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said Singapore should not take its water security for granted.

He noted the changes in climate patterns and the ever increasing demand for water.

The Republic has diversified its water sources to end reliance on imported water. Singapore is on track to achieve water self-sufficiency by 2061, when the second water agreement with Malaysia expires.

But such self-reliance still rests on collective efforts to ensure water security.

'We will need the collective efforts of every individual, young and old, not just to conserve water in our daily activities but to also keep our water resources clean for long-term sustainability,' Dr Tan said.

A string of 15 celebrations marked the day, where a record of over 25,000 people attended.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was at Jurong Lake where about 1,000 people took part in a mass water filtration exercise. Participants used material such as sand and cotton wool to filter untreated water.

Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim led a 200-strong team on a 5km kayaking trip from Kolam Ayer to Marina Barrage.

The events also held a certain nostalgia for Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who took a 1km walk at the Lorong Halus Wetland. While there, he said that he first visited the area - then an active dumpsite - 15 years ago as Environment Minister.

Today, there is a bentonite clay wall to filter and clean the water.

'To see it today was quite incredible,' he added.

Additional reporting by Siau Ming En and Carolyn Khew