Six teams with international and local professionals presented their designs to change water, urban and climate problems into opportunities for the Asian cities of Chennai (India), Semarang (Indonesia) and Khulna (Bangladesh).

The presentations took place in Singapore on 6 and 7 December where the international financial sector had gathered to learn about the latest results of the Water as Leverage programme of the Dutch Government that addresses the looming water crises in many Asian cities. The meeting in Singapore ended the first phase of the programme, concluding with six well-developed designs that are now ready to be turned into reality.

dws-wal2-chennai-tanks-350px  One of the designs presented at the second workshops in Chennai, India, proposed the installation of many tanks for rainwater catchment to prevent floods and, simultaneously, alleviate the effects of drought..

Series of local workshops
The first phase of the programme started earlier this year with a call for ideas, resulting in 35 proposals of which six were selected ─ two for each city.

In September and October the teams had their first local design workshop that involved local authorities and local stakeholders.

In December the teams had their second workshops to finalised their conceptual designs for each city. This was followed by the final central presentations to the financial sector in Singapore.

dws-wal2-khulna-mayor-khaleque-350pxMayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque opened the second workshop in Khulna, Bangladesh.

Bankable projects
According to Dutch water envoy Henk Ovink, presiding the final workshop in Singapore, the banking sector reacted very enthusiastic.

The positive feedback made him confident for the next phase of the programme when the proposals will be transferred into bankable projects.The programme aims to realize transformative projects in all three Asian cities, involving a very broad coalition, with communities, businesses, municipalities, none-governmental organisations and city designers.

‘Banks cannot finance transformation’, Ovink explained, ‘as it does not fit in their evaluation. That is why we involve banks in an early stage. We want to make them aware of the process that creates transformative projects’.

dws-wal2-semarang-table-350pxOne of the 'polder tables' at the second workshop in Semarang, Indonesia where the design of an integrated coastal development plan was finalised (also on top photo).

Part of the process
Ovink emphasised the importance of the process. ‘In our programme, banks are part of the engagement. By involving them, they are part of the creation of the enabling environment for the projects. A place to make innovation work, and make it last’.

The latter is crucial important, according to Ovink. ‘If you invest in something, but nobody takes care of it, or there is no policy in place, there is no ownership and the project eventually falls apart. The investment goes to waste.’

Therefore the enabling environment and the inclusion of investors, is the back bone of the programme. ‘It is no longer about costs, but about creating value’, Ovink assured.

dws-wal-end-phase-1-singapore-participants-350pxAll participants at the final presentation of all six conceptual designs in Singapore, early December.

Wide range of representatives
At the meeting in Singapore several stakeholders of the Water as Leverage programme were present, such as World Wildlife Foundation, UN-Habitat, International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Architecture Workroom Brussels, OECD and 100 Resilient Cities.

Other parties gave input, such as Partners for Resilience, the Global Centre on Adaptation. Representatives from the financial sector, included the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Dutch Development bank FMO, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Green Climate Fund.

Next steps in 2019
During the next phase the teams will develop their conceptual designs further into proposals for Urban Water projects with an infrastructural focus.

These will be presented during the next round of local design workshops in the three cities which will be in the beginning of March 2019.

The second regional workshop in Singapore is planned at the end of April 2019.

This news item is based on the original release published on the website of RVO.
(all photos: Twitter)

Read also on this website
Water as Leverage: Energetic first round design workshops in Chennai, Khulna and Semarang, 14 November 2018
Six teams selected to develop groundbreaking urban water projects in Asia, 25 July 2018
Call for action: Come up with multifunctional designs to make three Asian cities more resilient, 8 May 2018
Expertise: Resilient cities

More information
Water as Leverage programme

Radio interview with Dutch water envoy Henk Ovink by Singapore radio station MoneyFM 89.3 on the final presentations of the Water as Leverage programme, and the Dutch-Singapore water cooperation in general.