Water & Wastewater Asia • July / August 2019 20 | FROM THE GROUND By Leong Chee Khuan, Area Managing Director for South Asia and General Manager for Grundfos Pumps Sdn Bhd W ater is a precious and increasingly critical resource. Water security has become one of our most urgent environmental crises as well as our fastest-growing social, political and economic challenges faced today. Increasing water scarcity and pollution, rapid population growth and urbanisation are major factors posing fundamental challenges to the global water cycle, with a particular pressure on the urban water supply. Most countries in Asia are not spared, and this includes the Philippines, which is experiencing rapid population growth, with a projected population of 150 million by 2050 1 , and is becoming increasingly urbanised. Water supply and sanitation has been unable to keep up with the growing population and rate of urbanisation. Additionally, climate change, inefficient and excessive water use, pollution and increasing volumes of food production put pressure on the country’s water systems. In the Philippines, water comes from various sources – groundwater, rainfall and surface water, such as reservoirs, rivers, and lakes. Despite the abundance in water sources, significant seasonal variations and imbalanced geographical distribution often result in water shortages, especially in densely populated areas during the dry season. A recent example was when Manila experienced its worst water crisis in nearly a decade earlier this year. The crisis comes as a stark reminder that water security needs to be a top priority. We need to not only review existing water networks and put in place plans to expand national water systems capable of moving water effectively and efficiently, but the government and private sector need to work together and coordinate more effectively on development issues. BUILDING RESILIENT WATER NETWORKS The local infrastructure capacity in the Philippines is unable to keep up with demand and efficiency levels are not optimised. While the Philippine government has been driving greater efforts through increased investment towards its water networks, industry players are also responsible for introducing innovative solutions given their expertise in the water sector. For example, a key part of the water network is pumping stations that collect and transport wastewater. However, traditional pumping stations are made of concrete casted on-site, which not only means greater time spent on construction and detailed planning, but also susceptibility to chemical corrosion and subsequent leakage over time. They also occupy a lot of space, which is an issue for the rapidly urbanising country. Grundfos has introduced a prefabricated pumping station, which has been developed to optimise pumping station design and operation and reduce energy consumption. The prefabricated pumping station is designed to be energy efficient and operates reliably in the long run. Made of hard- wearing plastic, its greater durability paired with an advanced control system means optimised operations and in turn greater energy savings. Requiring a shorter construction timeframe, Grundfos’ prefabricated pumping station can support the expansion of a water network in a shorter timeline. Compared t o t r a d i t i on a l pump i ng s t a t i on s , this prefabricated pumping station is produced in the Grundfos factory and sent to the site as a complete package, making installation easier. This reduces i n s t a l l a t i on t i me b y a s mu c h a s 80 per cent, ensuring minimal disruption to people and infrastructure.