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Building climate resilience: The sustainable and water-smart city

Published on August 02, 2022

In the face of a growing global climate crisis, we are seeing more embrace the building of sustainable and future-resilient smart cities. Christopher Steele and Koh Sock Hoon from Binnies Singapore and Danielle King from the RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence discuss the impacts and challenges to consider when achieving climate resilience through smart city infrastructure.

The smart city concept has been growing in recent decades as a means of developing resilient and sustainable infrastructure at the heart of our global societies. The smart city presents an opportunity to confront the modern challenges brought by rapid population growth and the climate crisis; whether the challenges are urbanisation, extreme weather or resource demand, introducing smart city infrastructure offers a solution. Nowhere is this felt more strongly than in Asia.

Across the continent, managing water assets to withstand these pressures presents a vision for what the smart city concept can offer. Component-based systems that optimise specific utility services and processes are beginning to revolutionise Asia’s built infrastructure. The success of smart water metering, monitoring and waste processing is demonstrating the real benefits of integrated and intelligent systems. As this technology evolves, so too do the possibilities it presents.

Throughout its global business, RSK has been developing smart solutions for the water and wastewater sectors that implement the growing benefits of integrating data systems into water processing controls. As the smart city concept takes off and becomes more widely integrated into our vital infrastructure, cloud-based data systems will be the norm for managing large-scale utility systems. Projects such as the Tuas Nexus in Singapore and the Sha Tau Kok Sewage Treatment Works in Hong Kong are demonstrating the practical benefits of such smart, data-driven systems. The cloud provides water companies and the wider utilities sector with the opportunity to understand consumer habits and usage rates better at the same time as harnessing the power of analytics to forecast future needs.

The Asia-Pacific region is leading the way on introducing these new, innovative and resilient systems that will play an intrinsically crucial role in the region’s response to the climate crisis. As the region continues to develop at great speed, so too must its resilience to future climate impacts. In order to fully realise its economic development, Asia must also realise its sustainable development. The smart city offers this potential. Smart, sustainable city infrastructure will take the region closer to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and in terms of water resilience, digitalisation will provide the framework by which to achieve access to potable water and sanitation.

The ambition is clear – the Asia-Pacific region has the drive and the means to achieve climate- and future-resilient smart cities. Developments in the water sector are already demonstrating the real value smart infrastructure can offer.

Christopher Steele, Head of Digital Products and Services, and Koh Sock Hoon, Process Specialist, are from Binnies Singapore, which develops intelligent water and environmental solutions using a whole-life-cycle approach to deliver functional infrastructure and lasting environmental and social legacies.

Danielle King, Head of Climate Change Strategy and Decarbonisation, is from the RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence, which develops and delivers practical solutions to help businesses, governments and other organisations achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations.

Christopher, Sock Hoon and Danielle recently gave an interview to Water and Wastewater Asia about the growth of smart city infrastructure. The article is now available to read in full online.

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