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What should Taiwan be concerned about in the wake of water shortages? The Water Leaders’ Summit brings together experts from around the world to focus on "water values" and to chart a vision for sustainable water development in a new era

Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, water shortages and floods are the most important issues in 2021. Under the influence of global climate change, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather is increasing rapidly. Taiwan's overall water environment is also facing unprecedented challenges. The Water Resources Agency, (WRA) Ministry of Economic Affairs is hosting the Taiwan International Water Week 2021 - International Forum at the Taipei International Convention Centre from 14 to 16 October. The three-day, 15-session forum will not only be held in person but will also be available for live streaming online. The annual theme is "The Irreplaceable Value of Water", echoing the theme of the United Nations World Water Day 2021, "Valuing Water". 

Today (14 October), the summit "Water Leaders’ Summit: The Irreplaceable Value of Water" kicked off with a speech by the Director-General of the WRA, Dr. LAI, CHIEN-HSIN, calling for "valuing water and cherishing water resources". The forum featured speeches by Dr. Quentin Grafton, Chairman of UNESCO's Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance, Dr. Kala Vairavamoorthy, Executive Director of the International Water Association, Kirk E. Gibbs, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Division, and Sophia Cheng, Chief Investment Officer of Cathay Capital Holdings. More than 100 experts and scholars from home and abroad, including Mr. Guido Jules Leopold Tielman, Representative of the Netherlands Office Taipei and Mr. Eduardo Euba Aldape, Director General of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, were present at the event to recognize the value of water and to build a sustainable water environment.

Dr. LAI, CHIEN-HSIN, Director-General of the WRA, said that the value of water is not equal to the price of water in general and cannot be measured by price alone. Nowadays, as clean and cheap tap water is readily available, people mistakenly regard the important water resources as a cheap commodity and neglect the environmental, economic, social and cultural values created by water, due to the value of "scarcity is precious". Mr. LAI, in his introduction to this summit, shared four major aspects of water value, water resources, water environment and recycling. Mr. LAI discussed various case studies from the perspectives of thinking, action and technology application. He shared the following cases: the farmland water cultivation incentive scheme in the upper catchment of the Meinong River to turn flood water into water resources, the string of pearls project to share water resources, the new water environment in Yuejin Port in Tainan that combines ecological and landscape flood control functions, and the promotion of corporate ESG to use recycled water. In short, he sought to bridge the gap between Taiwan and the world through the exchange of topics from different perspectives.

The Water Leaders’ Summit featured industry, government, academia and research experts who focused on the value, management and sustainability of water resources. Dr. Quentin Grafton, Chairman, presented a video link on 'Water pricing strategies in the face of water scarcity', reviewing the fundamentals of urban water pricing, exploring possible pricing options to address water scarcity, and exploring possible water supply options. Dr. Kala Vairavamoorthy, Executive Director, also discussed online the current global focus on 'reshaping the water agenda'. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set the basic targets for water. In the future, digital technology and a nature-based approach should be used to ensure 'reshaping the water agenda' and to achieve long-lasting results. Ms. Sophia Cheng, Chief Investment Officer, is actively involved in international climate change initiatives and is currently the Chair of the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC). She shared the need for businesses, investors and supply chain customers to reduce water risks in response to the need to transform and adapt to climate change, and presented the topic of 'Drivers of Action for Businesses to Focus on Water'. Commander Kirk E. Gibbs shared his experience from managing the US Federal Water Development Program and the Watershed and Wetlands Stewardship Program through a video presentation on 'USACE Integrated Water Resources Management: An Approach to Drought and Climate Resilience'. He explained how the process of coordinating and developing water, land and related resources and water management can be facilitated in an equitable manner to maximize economic and social well-being without compromising critical sustainable development ecosystems.

The WRA said that in addition to the Water Leaders' Summit, the three-day International Forum on the Irreplaceable Water Value will include a series of 14 forums on 'Environmental Water', 'Economic Water', 'Technology Water' and 'Cultural Water' tomorrow (15) and later (16). This year's conference covers the most important issues of global concern in recent years, such as water solutions, disaster prevention and response, emerging desalination technologies, water quality improvement and ESG. Invited speakers include water experts and academics from the UK, Greece, the Netherlands, South Africa, Schwartini, Israel, the US, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan. It will be one of the most comprehensive international forums this year, with the widest range of topics, the largest number of prestigious keynote speakers, and the most complete linkage between industry, government, academia and research. This year, although the quota for physical participation is limited due to the government's epidemic prevention policy, the entire forum can be viewed live online ( All are welcomed to participate online to focus on important issues such as the multi-faceted value of water and the sustainable development of water resources.

Spokesperson of Water Resources Agency, Ministry of Economic Affairs: Deputy Director Yi-fung Wang
Office Tel: (02) 37073011 Mobile: 0933-012183

Case Handler: Director of Planning Division – Ms. Chun-ling Kuo
Office Tel: (02)37073030 Mobile: 0921-882029