WATER & WASTEWATER ASIA January / February 2018 58 / SHOW REVIEW Becoming a Smart Sponge Citywith Self Sustainable Water Cycle W ater is the lifeblood of human existence. F o r d e n s e l y populated places s u c h a s H o n g Kong, the issues and challenges go beyond simply finding water sources to satisfy each household. It is also about recycling, reusing, processing sewage, desalination and flood prevention. In The Smart Sponge City - Self Sustainable Water Cycle conference of Eco Asia Conference at Eco Expo Asia on 27 October, experts from Hong Kong and overseas discussed the challenges, technological developments and solutions that could help governments better manage the water cycle in their jurisdictions. The conference was organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, and co-organised by the Water Supplies Department and Drainage Services Department of the HKSAR Government. The con f e rence unve i l ed a n umb e r o f e y e - o p e n i n g developments on how countries around the world solve their varying water-related issues. In his opening remarks, CL Wong, deputy director of Water Supplies, Water Supplies Department, HKSAR Government, said that climate change is bringing about extreme weather changes and countries are having to deal with either too little or too much water. He said conventional methods of water management are no longer adequate, which is why the concept of a Sponge City - in which cities capture, retain and discharge water without waste - is crucial in resolving water-related problems. The two-session conference was moderated by Dr Vivian Wong, JP, chairman of Friends of the Earth. She said the Sponge City concept was developed in China two years ago and now has commercial value, which makes it a worthwhile venture for recycling companies, businesses and entrepreneurs to delve into ways to better manage water. Jim Schlaman, director of Water Sources, Black and Veatch in the United States of America, said the population of the earth is expected to grow to 12 billion by the end of the century from the seven billion now, and the key was to make sure that not a drop of the limited potable water available on the planet was wasted. He said his company is looking at “different futures” in terms of potential problems posed in the sourcing and management of water and sewage, from which they design technology to mitigate these futures. These futures could involve what would happen if an oil spill contaminated a supply of water, a broken pipeline that could not be fixed for up to one year and other potential scenarios. Xaver Storr, CEO of IBS Group in Germany, specialises in flood control in a Sponge City and dealing with ways to protect citizens from floods that are predictable because of consistent weather cycles as well as flash floods. The conference unveiled a number of eye-opening developments on how countries around the world solve their varying water- related issues Experts at Eco Expo Seminar plot path for future water management.