Singapore International Water Week 2011, held July 4-8 and themed “Sustainable Solutions for a Changing Urban Environment,” notched new highs, with a bigger slate of exhibiting companies and an encouraging growth in participant numbers.

This global platform for water solutions attracted a record of some 13,500 participants from 99 countries/regions. This marks a growth in attendance figures of almost 60 percent since the inaugural event in 2008. The Water Expo saw close to 70 percent growth in exhibition space and a 70 percent increase in the number of exhibiting companies over the inaugural year of 2008. More than 600 companies took part in this year’s Water Expo, which attracted six new international pavilions from Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Milwaukee Water Council (USA), the Water Environment Federation (USA) and the Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (USA); taking the total number of pavilions to 15. The total value of announcements for projects awarded, tenders, investments and R&D MOUs reached S$2.9 billion.

Michael Toh, managing director of the Singapore International Water Week, said “We are extremely pleased with the strong industry support for the Singapore International Water Week. Water management remains a vital focus area for governments and industries in today’s challenging global landscape, which is marked by growing population and rapid urbanization. The Water Week’s ability in bringing together global water leaders from the public sector, the private sector and academia, augurs well for the growing global water industry in ensuring a continual dialogue and identifying governance, business and technological solutions to address this common challenge.”

The first-ever U.K. Pavilion was supported by the U.K. Trade and Investment department, responsible for promoting export and import, and hosted by British Water, the trade association for the U.K. water and wastewater industry. British Water marketing executive Bridget Orr said, “We have been very impressed by the caliber of the other exhibitors and the professionalism of the exhibition organization. Our companies have made excellent contacts with key utilities and companies across the region. We look forward to developing the relationships we have made at Singapore International Water Week, and to continue to showcase and share U.K. expertise and experience in innovation, technology, high quality manufacturing and asset management.”

Similar success was experienced at the Milwaukee Water Council Pavilion. Milwaukee Water Council executive director Dean Amhaus said, “Our decision to create a larger pavilion with higher visibility clearly helped our old friends find us and our new friends to discover us during the week. Most importantly, we believe that we were able to make some connections with businesses and organizations that will develop into important partnerships in the near future. Certainly Singapore International Water Week will be at the top of our list for participation in 2012.”

The focus on new technology and innovation was a particular highlight for this year’s event, in line with Singapore’s position as a key driver in the research and development of new water solutions. The inaugural Water Innovations@SIWW showcased five new technologies spawned in Singapore, while TechXchange, provided a platform connecting potential inventors with the researchers behind these technologies.

Said Dr. Chen Zhong, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair (Undergraduates) at the School of Materials Science & Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, “The TechXchange workshop provided an excellent opportunity to bring our R&D technologies to the market. The interaction also enables researchers to stay more focused on critical issues facing the industry in their future research.”

Investors attending the workshop echoed this endorsement. Dr. Helge Daebel, Senior Specialist, Emerald Ventures said, “The workshop offered good insights into very interesting technical developments from the research organizations in Singapore. What needs to happen next is to match them with a strong entrepreneurial mind-set. During the panel discussion, industry thought leaders shared stimulating comments in that direction.”

In addition, more than 30 new products and technologies made their regional and international debut at the Water Expo’s Launch@SIWW innovation showcase, signaling a strong endorsement of the Water Week as an important platform for companies looking to promote their new products to key markets in the world.
The fifth Singapore International Water Week will be held from July 2-6, 2012, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at Marina Bay Sands. The theme will be “Water Solutions for Liveable and Sustainable Cities.”

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