Keynote Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Expo Dubai Water Track Seminar: Water, Energy & Food For Cities, Industries And Agriculture on 23 March 2022
1 Friends and colleagues from the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, and other parts of the world. Good Morning.
2 I am pleased to share my thoughts on the topic of Water, Energy and Food for Cities, Industry and Agriculture. I thank the Netherlands Water Partnership, Water Alliance and the Government of the Netherlands for organising this event as part of Water Week at Expo Dubai.
3 Singapore, the Netherlands, and the UAE come from different regions and parts of the world. Our geographies and climates are very different, but we are united in our quest to address our peoples' needs for water, energy and food security, and to do so in a sustainable manner.
4 Water security is gaining our attention. The 2021 UN World Water Development Report shows that over two billion people live in countries experiencing water stress. And demand for water is expected to grow with population growth and economic development, including from agriculture which accounts for 70% of water use globally. More frequent and severe droughts and extreme weather conditions caused by climate change will only exacerbate the situation further.
5 Global challenges require global action. No one country or organisation has all the solutions. This event gives us – regulators and policy makers, industry experts, business leaders and community leaders – the opportunity to work together by sharing knowledge and finding better solutions in water management and sustainable water supply.
6 Singapore is honoured to be part of today's programme. We have a long history of investing in water solutions, and innovating to overcome our water challenges. We now have NEWater, our high-grade reclaimed water, and desalination as significant components of our water system. These sources of water are climate-resilient, but energy-intensive. Driving energy use in water treatment down is our next long-term goal.
7 We are ramping up the development of biomimetic membranes, taking lessons from plants and animals in extracting water from the environment. We are integrating our solid waste and used water reclamation facilities to raise the energy recovery from a mixture of wastewater sludge and food waste. And we are investing in an integrated validation plant for desalination to be commissioned in 2023 to trial promising technologies to halve our energy consumption of desalination to 2 kilowatt hour per cubic metre (kwh/m3). This is to prepare for our next generation desalination plants.
8 Our relentless journey in searching for sustainable water solutions has been supported by numerous partnerships between countries and between the government, industry, academia, and civil society. And we will continue to provide platforms for such collaborations, including at the upcoming Singapore International Water Week 2022 in April. I invite you to join us in Singapore next month.
9 I wish all of you fruitful discussions.
10 Thank you.