Singapore’s efforts to promote the country as a global R&D base for water technologies received a boost with the official launch of the Netherlands Water House (NWH).
The city is actively wooing R&D investments from international water companies and research institutes to develop cutting-edge technologies, and further export Singapore’s capabilities to growing markets in Asia. The NWH, a representative office of the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) provides a comprehensive network of knowledge institutes, qualified personnel and Dutch water expertise around the world.
The NWH, in partnership with PUB, Singapore’s national water agency will work closely with the Economic Development Board to enhance cooperation and strengthen ties between Singaporean and Dutch businesses and research institutes in the water sector. Businesses, research institutions, and government agencies in Singapore can now directly tap on the Netherlands’ expertise, a country that has built its reputation on two hundred years of experience in managing and protecting its water resources and the environment.
“Today, Singapore is host to a vibrant and thriving water eco-system made of up more than 70 local and international companies. As we attract more R&D investments into Singapore, our local water companies are also making headway overseas. The Netherlands Water House will further enhance partnerships and collaborations between local and Dutch companies and add to a more vibrant water R&D sector in Singapore,” said Khoo Teng Chye, Chief Executive of PUB and Executive Director of the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office, which oversees the growth and development of the local water sector.
Founding supporters of the initiative include Applus RTD, Optiqua Technologies, Delta Marine Consultants, Deltares, Norit, NBDA Asia, Boskalis International and GMF-Gouda. The Singapore Water Association and the International Water Association will also participate in joint water-related activities.
Ms Machteld Weerstra, Executive Director of the NWH said, “On a wider scale, climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasing urbanisation are all adding pressure to the global water supply.” The NWH hopes to address these challenges by combining Dutch expertise and experience to provide innovative solutions to ensure more efficient, reliable and safe water management. These include delta technology, namely the development of institutional structures for flood and environmental protection, and new applications in water management such as decentralised systems for drinking water production and wastewater purification.
Water and delta management is a process of continuous innovation, one that requires a collaborative, international approach. This, Ms Weerstra explains is the main reason behind NWP’s decision to open a representative office in Singapore, which will also serve as a contact point and center of information for the Asean region. The aim is to foster regional partnerships to promote and facilitate information and technology transfer.
The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and the Netherlands Office for Science and Technology as part of the economic section of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Dutch Chamber of Commerce will lend support to NWH’s programmes in the region.
Close to 100 guests representing government and research agencies, academic institutions and water-related companies attended the launch and a networking reception hosted by the Embassy at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre, held in conjunction with the Singapore International Water Week 2010. The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of this global platform for water solutions since 2008.