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May 8, 2010

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Water concerns aired

THE significance of water to a city is an important question that experts gathered for World Expo Shanghai are trying to answer.

"We want to show the connection between the city and where water comes from," said Ger Bergkamp, Director General of the World Water Council. "Better city or better life, from what we see, is directly connected to good water."

The World Water Council (WWC) Pavilion is inside the International Organizations Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo.

Bergkamp said it was the first time the WWC had a pavilion at a World Expo, even though it organizes the World Water Forum every three years.

Painted on the floor of the pavilion is a masterpiece featuring a city with a flowing blue river. Inside the pavilion is a children's corner, a "water Internet corner," a small cinema and pillars on which screens show documentaries about water.

"What the pavilion shows is how water affects our life, how important it is for avoiding disasters, for having food and producing energy," Bergkamp said.

In his view, China is facing challenges when it comes to water, with a growing population and changes in lifestyles, necessitating more and more water.

"At the same time, we also see that China is not alone. There are many countries that have very similar problems. We need to solve these problems together," he said.

"No country alone can solve all the problems."

The Singapore Pavilion outlines how the city-state handles its serious water shortage problem.

When visitors touch a computer screen, the country's water policies are shown.

Many exhibits in the Urban Best Practices Area also interpret the relationship between water and city.

Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, introduces a small ecosystem to purify river water.

It replicates a garden in Chengdu with a scale of 1:10. In the garden, dirty river water is pushed by a windmill to a pond for anaerobic treatment, the first step of purification. The water then flows through about 20 smaller ponds where different plants are grown to absorb pollutants.

Near the Chengdu pond, the Spanish capital Madrid also displays a water recycling system, which is claimed to be the most effective in Europe.

The city's sewage plants have an annual treatment capacity of 300 million cubic meters which processes all waste.


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