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International High-end Forum on Water Systems and Water Environment for Cities of the Future

Updated on 26 June, 2019

On 26th June 2019, an International High-end Forum on Water Systems and Water Environment for Cities of the Future was held in Qingdao, China. It was hosted by Desalination Branch of the China Water Enterprises Confederation (DBCWEC) and co-organized by International Water Association Alternative Water Resources Cluster - China Chapter (IWA AWR China Chapter), and State International Science & Technology Cooperation Center for Urban Alternative Water Resources Development (Int’l AWR Center). More than 100 delegates from industries, research institutes and enterprises were in attendance to exchange knowledge and experiences on water systems and water environment. 


Opening Ceremony

Six world-leading researchers and scientists were invited to give presentations and comments, namely, Prof. David Butler of University of Exeter, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Prof. Tony Wong, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Professor at Monash University, Australia, Prof. Hiroaki Furumai, Professor at University of Tokyo, Japan, Prof. Xiaochang Wang, Director of Int’l AWR Center, Dr. Jiazhuo Wang, Director of Ecology & Urban Infrastructure Planning Institute of China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, and Dr. Xu Wang, Associate Professor at the Research Center for Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

Prof. Xiaochang Wang, chair of the forum kicked-off the event with a welcome talk, whereby he gave the background to the forum and introduced invited panelists. Subsequently, Prof. Hiroaki Furumai delivered a presentation entitled “Towards Urban Water Use System for Sustainability.” He gave an overview of water resources and supply in Japan and the research on sustainable urban water use, including water resources forecasting under climate change, rainwater harvesting and utilization potential, reclaimed water quality stability, and energy usage in water supply and sewerage systems. 

Presentation by Prof. Hiroaki Furumai 


Prof. Xiaochang Wang’s presentation entitled “Principles for Water Wise Cities toward the Future and Worldwide Practices” demonstrated how climate change, population growth and urbanization, and increasing demand for resource supply are stimulating a paradigm shift in urban water systems design. Also, he indicated that “The IWA Principles for Water Wise Cities” are formulated based on global experiences in dealing with common and specific problems faced by various countries and regions such as LID, SUDS, WSUD, and Sponge City practices. He stressed that international exchanges are extremely crucial for the future. 


Presentation by Prof. Xiaochang Wang

Next, a presentation delivered by Dr. Jiazhuo Wang entitled “Practice of Sponge City Concept for Urban Waterlogging Control-Case Study in Wuhan, China” introduced the systematic measures of a pilot sponge city in Wuhan. He indicated that many cities in China are prone to pluvial flooding and that the sponge city concept offers a sustainable way for China to address water resources, environmental, and ecological resilience simultaneously. According to him, the main challenges to sponge city construction includes funding and unrealistic expectation from the public vis-a-vis the current pace of sponge city construction in China. Therefore, he called for departmental cooperation, awareness raising, technical training, and public participation. 


Presentation by Dr. Jiazhuo Wang 

Furthermore, in a presentation entitled “Water Resource Recovery Infrastructure: An Emerging Era of Systems Integration Thinking,” Dr. Xu Wang introduced the emerging functions of water systems with environmental change. He illustrated Systems Integration (SI) as the nature of and key to innovative WRRI of tomorrow. He also showed several examples regarding function integration, technology integration, scheme integration, and data integration in WRRI.  

Presentation by Dr. Xu Wang

After four presentations, Prof. David Butler and Prof. Tony Wong give comments with key issues stressed in their plenary keynotes in the morning session, respectively. Prof. Butler gave keynote lecture entitled "Managing urban flooding: rapid screening of options" in the morning plenary session, and in the afternoon forum, he emphasized that rapid comparison provides a promising method for decision makers to quickly screen management options prior to detailed design. He also indicated that simulation of intervention performance across many storm return periods provides a method for visualizing performance to design standards (risk management) and extreme events (resilience). Besides, case study results indicate that cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of targeted infrastructure strategies can be readily evaluated.


Comments by Prof. David Butler

Prof. Tony Wong gave keynote lecture entitled "Harnessing the power of water to create transformative cities" in the morning plenary session, and in the afternoon forum, Prof. Wong illustrated how transformative cities should comprise hybrid water solutions, digital technologies, and circular economies. A wide array of measures to be used to enhance the resilience of urban water systems were highlighted, including a mix of soft and hard interventions. He indicated that cities must build diversified and dynamic water resource portfolios and that nature conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and biomimicry are necessary for nature-based solutions for water. 

Comments by Prof. Tony Wong


During open discussion sessions, the delegates raised questions for discussion with the panelists, which centered around issues relating to water systems and water environments, including the cost of rainwater collection and resource recycling, main technologies for sponge cities in actual construction projects, urban drainage trends in the future, and future developments for environmental protection companies.

Panel Discussion