When political vision flows clear

TODAY | March 22, 2013

It wasn’t until 2006 that the story of the Singapore water miracle was brought to the world’s attention, by two experts on the other side of the world.

Professor Asit Biswas and Dr Cecilia Tortajada of the Third World Centre for Water Management in Mexico were preparing 20 case studies on water management for the United Nations Development Programme.

As they were deciding which to shortlist, they pored over the data they had requested from the PUB’s Chief Executive. And what they learnt astounded them -the tiny island-state of Singapore had one of the best urban water and wastewater management records in the world.

Not only did their published study make known widely Singapore’s achievements, the pair also nominated the PUB for the sector’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize —the Stockholm Water Industry Award —which it won in 2007.

Thus began the close collaboration of Dr Tortajada and Prof Biswas —one of the world’s leading authorities on water and environmental management and recipient of the 2006 Stockholm Water Prize — with Singapore.

Their research culminates in the book, The Singapore Water Story.

A recurrent key theme of the book is the political leadership, will and system behind the success of the story. Indeed, the authors interviewed former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew over two sessions.

Read full interview