Posted : 2013-10-03 19:37
Updated : 2013-10-03 19:37

Preparations for World Water Forum go smoothly

An aerial view of Gangjeong Goryeongbo, one of eight small dams constructed along the Nakdong River that flows through Daegu, a co-host city of the seventh World Water Forum with Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province. / Courtesy of Daegu Metropolitan City

By Yi Whan-woo

Korea's preparations for the World Water Forum, scheduled to begin on April 12, 2015, for a six-day run, are progressing smoothly, the local organizing committee said Thursday.

Over 30,000 participants from the governments, international organizations, universities and firms in 150 countries are expected to attend the forum, to be held in Daegu and Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province.

During the forum, the largest international water-related event, Korea is seeking to introduce its know-how on water management as well as policies using cutting-edge technologies.

The meeting, governed by the World Water Council (WWC), has been held every three years since 1997 to promote global awareness of water security and environmental issues.

The WWC, a non-governmental organization based in Marseille, France, will co-organize the event with the National Committee for the seventh World Water Forum 2015, Daegu City, North Gyeongsang Province, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

According to the organizers, the forum will provide a unique opportunity to share thoughts and policies.

In May, a preliminary meeting took place at the EXCO convention center in Daegu.

This was the first official meeting in preparation of the forum, in which 500 water experts from academia and industries in 41 countries gathered to determine what will be discussed at the forum.

During the meeting, participants chose "implementation" as the main theme for the 2015 forum.

"We have come up with the theme to look back on our efforts on water-related issues and practice ways to protect the environment," said the comittee said in a statement.

The participants also agreed to develop related policies for regional, political, and science and technology fields.

Other key preparatory processes will include the second stakeholders' consultation meeting that is temporarily planned to take place in Daegu in late February 2014.

The participants will share the progress and outcomes after the preliminary meeting. They will also choose topics to be discussed at the 2015 sessions.

The organizing committee is also focusing on helping Daegu and North Gyeonsang Province deal with water shortages.

The Nakdong River flows through Gumi, an industrial city in the province near Daegu, and Busan, a port city with the second-largest population density in the country.

"Daegu is recognized with the dying industry that requires heavy amount of water. How to deal with industrial waste water is an important matter for Daegu," the committee said. "We will discuss how the city and the province can preserve clean water."

Under the so-called Blue Gold Cluster Project, Daegu will develop facilities for the management of sewage, wastewater and used tap water as well as next-generation water treatment material by investing a total of $11 million.

Daegu is also planning to become a major water business player by implementing advanced water management technology through a separate project called "Daegu Neptune."

It is making efforts to develop industrial infrastructure because the Nakdong River Restoration Project was recently completed. Daegu also plans to make about 300 village wells.

Governor Kim Gwan-yong of North Gyeongsang Province said that the World Water Forum will have a huge synergy effect on research and technological developments.

"There must be strong support from the central government to ensure successful hosting of the event," he said. "We've been preparing for this event starting last year. We will ensure perfect preparations by maintaining a close cooperation with Daegu."

According to a report by the United Nations, water scarcity is getting worse amid rising demand for water from industries and households. One billion people — nearly one-sixth of the world's population — are already facing water shortages on a daily basis; by 2030, almost half of the global population will be living in water-stressed areas, the report said. "Water stress" is an expression used when total water is below an available amount.

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