SINGAPORE - Singaporeans can now help people in regions such as Africa, South Asia and Central America get clean water and sanitation, just by making an online pledge.
The non-profit Water.org will receive $1 per pledge, as part of a campaign launched yesterday by the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) organisers on day one of the five-day event.
The money comes from firms including engineering company Black & Veatch and energy, water and marine group Sembcorp Industries, which have donated a total of $40,000 to the campaign so far.
Anyone can make a pledge.
SIWW managing director Maurice Neo said: "We hope to use social media's power to create more awareness of water issues, and steer action towards sustainable water solutions."
Water.org, co-founded by actor Matt Damon, works with local groups in each of the countries to set up and maintain water and sanitation systems. In Bangladesh, for example, it has partnered non-government group DSK to help build toilets and water tanks for several communities.
Said Damon in a statement: "Access to water isn't an end in itself.
"Access to water is access to education, access to work, access to the kind of future we want for our own families."
To make a pledge from now until June 30, go to www.campaign. com/siwwpledge.
Meanwhile, national water agency PUB said it will sign five agreements this week to research ways to improve Singapore's water treatment processes.
The memorandums of understanding are with global firms and research centres, namely Evoqua Water Technologies, Grundfos, Technologiezentrum Wasse, Anaergia and the KWR Watercycle Research Institute.
The research will cover areas including electrochemical technology to treat sea water, pump technology and ways to get more energy from waste.
Said PUB chief executive Chew Men Leong: "The collaborations will help us... to find new and innovative ways to contain the rising costs of treating and producing water."
At a dialogue with young leaders from around the world earlier yesterday, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu urged them to share ideas and solutions for their countries' water problems.
Water issues are global in nature, she said.
"We need global solutions to solve some of the problems, and we're looking to you to give us those solutions in future."
This article was first published on June 2, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.