Greeting from Director of JST Singapore Office
Singapore Representative Office
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
The Asian region, the most populous in the world, is expected to be a potent driving engine for sustainable growth of the world in the 21st century in terms of economy as well as science, technology & innovation. In the meanwhile, the region faces various global and regional problems such as energy, environment, infectious diseases and natural disasters and so on which could be obstacles for further healthy development. More...
Water Reuse is needed? - It might bring a solution for tourist spots
17 May 2013 @ Chang Mai, Thailand / @Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (May 14-20)
During the recent Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chang Mai, Thailand (May 14 - 20), there were a number of workshops. I have already introduced one of them organized by IMPAC-T team called "Hydro-Meteorological Prediction and Adaptation to Climate Change in Thailand and Asia Pacific Countries" in my previous report. So at this time I introduce another workshop that I attended.
On the second day of the APWS technical workshop, I attended the workshop "Water Reuse Technology and Management in Tropical Regions" organized by WateR-InTro* team that is one of 66 SATREPS projects in operation all over the world. The purpose of this workshop was to share the idea of its comprehensive project; how they enlighten industries and even the residential to realize the importance of water recycle.
*Research and Development for Water Reuse Technology in Tropical Regions
Thai government has enthusiastically developed the system to monitor water quality nation-widely. In a part of it, they established the Environmental Research and Training Centre (ERTC) in 1992 by the support of JICA.
ERTC is a division operating under the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP) and under the overall jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental (MONRE). The fundamental purports of ERTC are to carry out research and to provide technical support in the implementation of natural resources and environmental policy and natural resources and environmental initiatives. Of course, that includes controling water quality and its recycling.
With an opening speech by, Ms. Rachanee Emaruchi, director general of DEQP, and Dr. Kazuo YAMAMOTO, WateR-InTro project manager, Tokyo University, four presenters showed the various approaches to reuse water.
The first presenter, Dr. Variga Swaittayotin presented "development of water quality information platform for Thailand" According to his talk, the purpose of the platform is 1) to develop nation-wide water quality (WQ) criteria reference using monitoring data of Chao Phraya River water 2) to evaluate WQ level of various water resources available in a community including reclaiming water 3) to evaluate several water usage in terms of different acceptable levels of water quality 4) to promote efficient allocation of water resource for non-portable water usage. Overall, they try to build a system to gather any water-related data to classify the water quality and its usage. For example, some water can be used for gardening or flushing toilet but not for drinks.
His talk also suggested that Chao Phraya River is very essential for agriculture in Thailand even though it might cause a big damage when it gets flooded.
The final part of the workshop was a panel discussion that in fact really intrigued. Although the original topic of the discussion was supposed to focus on "water reuse for water security in tropical region" the core topic somehow shifted to "why do we have to secure reuse water in Thailand?" It was very interesting direction of talks. According to one of panelists, Dr. Motoyuki SUZUKI said "Thailand is in tropical climate region with a full of water resource, why should they care about water reuse? They'd rather care how to reduce the waste" Well, in fact, recent researches suggested that in the tropical region, the risk of flood will increase in the near future due to climate change. So they don't really need to take recycling water into consideration?
During the discussion, panelists argued that there must be different level and quality of water used. Therefore the most important thing is to develop the platform to monitor water quality. Then they could introduce water recycle system in case of need. Mr. Kawabata, a representative from JICA Bangkok, also emphasized the importance of developing water reuse system. He said the situation is different in countries for securing water so Thai can build a platform and introduce it into other countries.
Some pointed out that such technology is required for big cities. Again, Dr. Suzuki challenged on that matter. According to him, there only 30% of whole population lives in urban areas in Thai while 70% lives in urban areas in Japan. And the system has been established already to treat sewage in Thai. Then why bother with disruptive technologies?
Well, beyond a discussion, Dr. Yamamoto's innovative bioreactor for recycling water is quite impressive. I once saw the small reactor set-up in the backyard of the campus at Chulalongkorn University almost two years ago. It recycled wasted water from drainage on the campus and the recycled water used for watering plants. Meanwhile methane gas produced from the tank was piped to a dining section for cooking.
During the discussion, I raised a question. Maybe Thai is with a full of water but isn't any way to adapt that technology? How about any place where new sewage system is too expensive to be built but need to clean up discharge water? For example, resort islands where hotels and guest houses are clustered. Tourists come to these islands for unforgettable beautiful sceneries. But this brings a kind of dilemma; more tourists a place attracts, then more waste is produced and damage the environment if it's not treated in a proper way. Between buildings and the sea, they set up the reactor to filter wasted water and discharge cleaner one. Maybe methane gas can be used for public purpose.
When I asked the panelists about the idea, Dr. Yamamoto added "even you can charge the cost on those hotels because they need the environment!"
It might take for a while that the WateR-InTro project will be understood by the public and implemented into the real world. However, it has potential and need to encourage people to adapt it.
The IMPAC-T team at water summit - Trying to bring a real impact on the summit
18 May 2013 @ Chang Mai, Thailand / Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (May 14-20)
During the recent Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (May 14-20), there were a number of workshops which gave participants opportunities to hear from and ask question of experts on water resources and climate change.
Therefore, on the 18th of May at APWS, I was a very interested spectator at a technical workshop entitled "Hydro-Meteorological Prediction and Adaptation to Climate Change in Thailand and Asia Pacific Countries".
The workshop was organized by IMPAC-T, which is one of 66 SATREPS worldwide projects currently in operation, and the purpose of the workshop was to share its ideas on climate change and meteorological prediction.
Flooding especially has been getting more attention since the severe Thailand floods in 2011. In that particular case, over 15-billion cubic meters of water spilled from the Chao Praya river, causing untold agricultural and factory damage, and causing about $44-billion worth of economic damage to Thailand. It has since became widely known as one of the biggest natural disasters in the South-east Asian region.
Following and opening speeches by Dr. Thanya KIATIWAT (Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University), and moderator, Mr. Nontawat Janjaroen (IMPAC-T Project Manager, Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University), the IMPAC-T team leader, Dr. Taikan Oki and four of his team presented the latest progress of the project.
The goal of the project is to develop an integrated water resources model which takes into account land surface, irrigation, rivers, dams and crops. It also aims to provide accurate rainfall data for the purpose of managing water resources better.
For these reasons, the IMPAC-T team is building an early warning system for water-related disasters by integrating observational data and models developed by their research. As part of this project, the team is working with with the Foundation of River and Basin Integrated Communications (FRICS) and the Thailand government to develop an early flood warning system.
As an ultimate goal, IMPAC-T aims to develop a National Strategic Plan in Water Sectors for the Adaptation Measures under Climate Change.
Following the presentations and a photo session, there was a panel discussion which quickly addressed the question of trans-disciplinary studies among policy makers and how the skills of officers in operational agencies, citizens, and researchers can be developed to support decision-making in the field of water resources management in a time of a changing climate.
While there could never be an answer to those questions within such a limited time, it was clear a major problem was that among Thai government organizations, information had become fragmented due to a lack of integration between systems. So to ensure the data IMPAC-T provides to the Thai government is useful, all related organizations must be able to equally access it and be able to cooperate in their efforts to improve the situation.
There was also good news that the Thailand government has established a single command center for water resource management which will lead to greater sharing of information amongst multiple organizations.
During the panel discussion, it was clear there was a common understanding among the participants that climate change was occurring and would bring more impact on our lands no matter whether action was taken or not.
Now meteorological modeling and climate analysis have both become much more sophisticated, it is time for us to consider how we can implement change to provide the outcomes we require without political indecision.
e-ASIA JRP "Disaster Prevention" Workshop
04 June 2013 / Jakarta, Indonesia
A workshop on "Disaster Prevention" will be held on the 4th of June in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The objectives of this workshop are to disseminate information on the e-ASIA Joint Research Program and to promote researcher interaction in the region.
Anyone who is interested in attending this workshop, please contact the Program Secretariat (email@example.com).
For more information, please visit www.the-easia.org/jrp/
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