Arup urges government and business rethink to tackle climate change through a water lens

Arup, a global professional services firm dedicated to sustainable development, is calling on governments and businesses on the frontline of the water sector to fundamentally reshape the way they operate. In the face of the climate change and biodiversity crises, water sits at the heart of the issues — and needs to be at the heart of the solutions.

A New Future for Water, a publication Arup launched in partnership with management consultancy, Indepen, identifies the essential areas to ensure water systems remain fit for purpose, resilient, and contribute towards sustainability. It is intended to help organisations determine their responsibilities and strategies to deliver a better future for water.

The new paper highlights nine essential characteristics that organisations might adopt to address existing water challenges. These encompass water systems and practical solutions important for water companies, and the need for partnerships, collaborations and strategies to win community buy-in.

Wayne Middleton, a plenary participant at Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) and Australasian water business leader for Arup said, “We are facing a global water crisis, and while climate change continues to dominate discussions, the role of water often remains overlooked. Failure to address the links between water and energy, and manage water demand, will put the world at risk of not meeting its net zero targets and could lead to future affordability issues. Public and private organisations need to act now, in an integrated and collaborative way.”

The publication comes as the recently established Global Commission on the Economics of Water is also calling for collective action to prevent the global water cycle tipping out of balance, following decades of mismanagement.

Shanshan Wang, the Singapore water business leader for Arup said, “Singapore has demonstrated global leadership in water governance, revitalisation, and drainage. However, we must recognise areas that demand continued attention, such as our heavy reliance on carbon-intensive desalination methods and limited storage solutions. With imminent extreme and unpredictable weather, such as prolonged droughts, adopting the ‘distributed mix of solutions’ characteristic can ensure Singapore’s preparedness.”

The findings of the publication are being discussed during a session hosted by Arup on 7 Jun 2023 with key international and local water stakeholders.