Korea aims to lead the way on water issues

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Korea aims to lead the way on water issues

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The Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) is aiming to become the market leader in the expanding water business, as global demand for the precious resource is projected to soar.

The state-run company will attend the inaugural three-day meeting of the Asia Water Council (AWC) that starts in Bali, Indonesia, on Thursday, along with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The Korean representatives will join government and business officials from 20 nations to discuss water shortage problems

The AWC was launched in April last year at the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu to foster regional cooperation on water issues. The council aims to encourage action on water sustainability in Asia, where about 32 percent, or about 1.4 billion of the region’s population, is exposed to water-related problems and have difficulty finding drinking water.

“The AWC will be a huge stepping stone for Korea to become a leading country in water issues in Asia,” said K-water CEO Choi Gye-woon. “We will try to build strong networks with other Asian nations through the AWC, as it will help resolve the water shortage problem in the region and give opportunities for Korean companies to expand water businesses there.”

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K-water says its Smart Water Management Initiative (SWMI) will help resolve most water-related issues. The next-generation water management system delivers industry-leading efficiency and safety by fusing know-how with information and communications technology (ICT), the company said.

The integrated SWMI system handles a series of water management-related issues, including potential emergency situations such as floods or water leakages at water storage systems based on data collected through its ICT.

K-water introduced the SWMI in Daegu last year.

Industry insiders say K-water’s SWMI system will attract interest as it perfectly fits the current trend of the business. Core parts of the water industry previously involved building waterworks and sewage facilities, but due to the impact of industrialization and climate change, the paradigm has shifted to countries focusing on the efficient management and diversification of water resources. Reflecting the trend, the world’s water market is expected to grow from last year’s $612.27 billion to $938.17 billion in 2025, according to U.K. water researcher Global Water Institute.

K-water is already running successful pilot projects with its SWMI system overseas. The company is currently running a project at the Rimac River in Peru to improve water management efficiency and restoration. The river is a source of drinking water for Lima’s nine million citizens.

The company is also using its smart water control system in Indonesia to improve its low water supply rate of 22 percent despite increasing demand.

“The SWMI won’t directly improve the water supply rate, but will give know-how of efficient water management, and that will improve overall water shortage problems in places like Indonesia,” a K-water spokesman said.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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