Contest Brings Worldwide Brain Power to Improve Environmental Resilience in Asia
Multidisciplinary teams from around the world are working to find the funding to build resiliency projects in Chennai, India; Khulna, Bangladesh; and Semarang, Indonesia. As part of a competition, Water as Leverage, established in 2018 by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the teams and cities are trying to develop replicable solutions to the climate crisis in Asia. In November, teams for the three projects presented their conceptual designs during a regional workshop in Singapore. The team focused on Chennai includes Netherlands- based fi rms Deltares and Arcadis, as well as New Orleans-based Waggonner and Ball. Chennai, whose population has grown significantly in recent years, has experience drought and flooding as wetlands in the surrounding areas have been declining. Several of the city’s water channels have become stagnant and filled with waste. Despite the abundance of water in the city, there is a dearth of water that is drinkable. “There’s flooding, but still not enough water to drink,” says Kees de Vries, a senior management consultant with Arcadis. The team has completed conceptual designs for the Mambalam Canal, which would replace the last existing remnant of a former, now stagnant, reservoir and drain. The second project includes a series of blue and green infrastructure projects in the city’s suburbs to make ecological improvements that would help naturally clean up the canal, renaturalize its banks and integrate decentralized wastewater treatment.
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