SIWW2024 hosts the largest global gathering of the urban water community, reflecting growth in South East Asia’s municipal and industrial markets

Into its 10th edition this year, the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) 2024 had over 24,000 water and city leaders, delegates and trade visitors from across the globe. Its water expo featured exhibiting companies from over 30 countries and nine country and regional pavilions, covering 22,000m2 of exhibition space. SIWW2024 saw exchange knowledge, best practices on innovative water, coastal and flood solutions, and new business opportunities to tackle urban water and climate challenges.

SIWW managing director Ryan Yuen said, “SIWW this year saw the largest gathering yet with 500 water and city leaders, including over 50 CEOs, representing major urban centres such as New York city, Tokyo, Dhaka, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Sao Paolo, Chennai, Johannesburg, Sydney, Manila and Hong Kong, convening at a single global platform.”

Ryan Yuen, managing director, SIWW (Image: SIWW)

He added that the discussions centred on hot button issues from water sustainability, net zero and decarbonisation, to digitalisation and coastal and flood resilience, aimed at driving effective climate action. “With SIWW2024, we are pleased to be taking our partnership with Messe Munich forward, and through the IFAT global network, present an impactful SIWW water expo and delivery of high-quality content across our flagship programmes in editions to come,” Yuen said.

A cornerstone of SIWW, the water expo is the pre-eminent marketplace for urban water technologies, innovation, and solutions for municipal and industrial water users in South East Asia. Under a 10-year agreement between SIWW and Messe Munich’s subsidiary, MMI Asia, to organise the SIWW water expo in cooperation with IFAT, the partnership’s first iteration at SIWW2024 reportedly brought record-breaking results.

This year, it saw a high 35% share of international trade visitors, with an increase in visitors from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand, underscoring the expo’s distinct value proposition on fulfilling sourcing objectives in the ASEAN region. A marked increase in visitors was also recorded from Asia-Pacific countries such as China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

With a new record of 51% of exhibiting companies coming from abroad, specifically from 29 countries and regions beyond Singapore. In addition, SIWW2024 water expo was grounds to the largest Singapore Pavilion in its 15-year history, and eight other country and regional pavilions from Australia, Canada, China, Flanders, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UK, who brought their solutions and technologies to leverage the growing trend of global water companies seeking business in the region. The expo also recorded a growing representation of water industry players from Germany and China in their respective country pavilions.

MMI Asia CEO and managing director Michael Wilton said, “SIWW2024 showed results in bringing together global stakeholders needed to support the industry’s transformation in closing the loop for water circularity and supporting climate resilience.

Michael Wilton, CEO and managing director, MMI Asia (Image: SIWW)

“The water expo continues to be the number one platform for trade visitors, city and utility leaders as well as industry players seeking answers to the varying water challenges. Through Messe Munich’s partnership with SIWW, we look forward to hosting even more exhibitors of technological solutions, innovations, and best practices in the next edition of this global event.”

According to Frost & Sullivan, countries in the region are currently seeing water policies and projects align with the EU’s green taxonomy. Initiatives in the region are addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, large-scale digitalisation, sustainable water use while transitioning to a circular economy, resource protection, and pollution prevention and control — all of which are geared towards protecting and restoring biodiversity and ecosystems.

Seeing these trends, this year’s water expo expanded into new growth areas, such as coastal protection, decarbonisation and digitalisation echoing the main themes of SIWW2024. This saw exhibiting companies bringing to the fore products and services tailored for cities, utilities, and industries in South East Asia to engage in climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Over half of the exhibiting companies offered water and sewage treatment solutions, water supply and sewage disposal systems, catering to the growth of treated wastewater for reuse projects as countries work to improve water supply resilience and reliability.

The water expo also featured smart tech, water digitalisation solutions, coastal protection, and flood resilience for cities facing rapid urbanisation, the pollution and depletion of groundwater, and extreme weather-related challenges such as droughts and floods. These solutions highlight the need to implement climate resilience and adaptation initiatives, digitalise assets, and implement smart water management systems.

For example, Maynilad Water Services in the Philippines is developing more projects to localise water production after successfully establishing its water reclamation plant, which produces 10 million litres daily (MLD) of direct potable water.

Developing cities, seeing the gap in demand and supply due to water stress, have increased scrutiny over non-revenue water (NRW) loss and introduced a growing shift to smart water meters to improve the sustainability of the water supply infrastructure, reduce NRW, and optimise asset operation and management.

Air Selangor, a water utility in Malaysia, aims to reduce NRW and is currently trialling smart water meters embedded with acoustic sensors. Last year, it installed 40,000 smart meters, with future plans to cover its 9 million customers. Meanwhile, PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, is implementing smart water meters to cover the rest of its 1.6 million accounts this year.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s 100 Smart Cities scheme aims to implement smart water grids through its regional water companies. Other water utilities in the region, such as Air Selangor, Manila Water Company, and Maynilad, have installed holistic analytics platforms for network asset management and aim to expand coverage.

The next edition of SIWW will return in 2026.