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JWF News ❘ July 2021: Factorization of a “Sustainable Society”

【JWF News Vol. 201】21 July 2021

◇ Contents ◇
・Forward Factorization of a “Sustainable Society”
・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum
 - Join us! The 3rd JWF webinar about Japan’s experience in on-site wastewater management
 - Mission Uchimizu 2021 – from July 22nd to August 23rd
・Report from the Japan Water Forum
 - Darvish Yu Water Fund: Completion report of the 14th Project in Pakistan
 - The outcomes of the 2nd JWF webinar
 - Progress on JWF Fund 2021
 - The outcomes of the 11th APWF webinar

・Foreword Factorization of a “Sustainable Society”
By Dr. Kotaro Takemura, Secretary General of the Japan Water Forum

Infrastructure improvement in an age of expansion
I have devoted most of my career to the improvement of infrastructure. In Japan, the mid 1960s to the 1980s were years of expansion, with rapid urbanization and economic growth. We were short of housing, water resources, and sewerage facilities, and we experienced frequent flooding. Our infrastructure was insufficient due to the rapid expansion of society. To address rapid societal expansion, our motto was “efficiency”. Efficiency means increasing productivity per unit time and area.

I will analyze water resources development and waterworks improvement, which are the main issues in the water sector. In order to solve the problem of water shortages, what we can do is extract as much water as possible from the river flowing in front of us. To do this, we must take water from the lower reaches of the river. As we go downstream into lower altitudes, the river’s water volume increases. However, water purification plants are usually located uphill, in order to supply water to households in the region.

In order to develop water resources efficiently, we had to take water from the lower reaches of a river and pump it uphill to a purification plant. Therefore, efficient water resources development in an expanding society forced us to increase our consumption of electricity.

Waterworks in previous times were exactly the opposite
The waterworks constructed in recent years under pressure from societal expansion have been energy-consumptive systems. In previous periods, waterworks were energy-saving systems. River water had always been taken from the upstream, for example with aqueducts of the Roman period, the Tamagawa Waterways of the Edo era, and the Yokohama Waterworks, built by Henry Spence Palmer.

Traditionally, water flows into water purification plants by gravity and then from the purification plants to each household. Gravity flow does not require electrical energy. The waterworks we built were exactly the opposite of these traditional ones. Energy-consuming waterworks are not sustainable. Future society must be sustainable.

Factorization of a sustainable society
 Around the world, the term “sustainable society” has become a common expression, though its meaning is quite vague. Society is a broad concept. We have agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, manufacturing industries, and a service sector. In addition, the manufacturing industries and service sector may be further segmented infinitely. In the face of such a broad and complicated economy, we feel at a loss as to how to create a sustainable society.

 First, we need to specify the major factors that constitute our society. In mathematics, we can understand that, once it is broken down, even a complex formula is made up of simple and easy-to-understand factors. In water resources development, when sustainability of the water sector is broken down into factors, one factor is gravity flow. Of course this is not the only factor. There are others, such as the downsizing of facilities, and slow sand filtration and natural purification of tributaries. When the complex question of sustainability is broken down into factors, the picture is no longer complicated. It becomes a realistic challenge we can deal with.

 We can see a better approach to realizing a sustainable society in the future. First, we should break down our complex society into factors for each sector. By identifying each factor that comprises our society, we can easily understand it. If we can identify specific challenges to address, we can overcome them.

 In the Sagami River system in Kanagawa prefecture, discussion has started on reconstruction of a sustainable basin community. We will break down the existing water supply system into factors and tackle each factor one by one. This will be a steady step towards future.

・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum

– Join us! The 3rd JWF webinar about Japan’s experience in on-site wastewater management

In many countries, particularly developing world, onsite wastewater systems remain an important measure for sanitation management. However, the poor situation of onsite systems is a common phenomenon in both developed and developing countries. The fundamental issue of onsite systems is that they are not considered to be a public matter. This webinar will explain how Japan has made the onsite systems a public matter at each step of the sanitation service chain. To improve the onsite systems in other countries, it may not be necessary to use the same framework as in Japan; it must be one that reflects the unique situation of each country. Having said that, the framework in Japan would be a useful reference for any country that wants to improve its onsite system, since the issues and challenges that need to be dealt with are the same in Japan and in any other countries.

◆Date and Time: 28th July 2021, 16:00-17:00 (Japan local time), 7:00-8:00 (UTC)
◆Speaker: Mr. Kazushi Hashimoto, Advisor, Japan Sanitation Consortium (JSC)
◆Topic: Japan’s experience in on-site wastewater management


▼Please visit the following website for details▼

(Reported by Reiko Yoshii, Manager)


– Mission Uchimizu 2021 – from July 22nd to August 23rd
   Let’s practice uchimizu and share your experience on social media using the hashtag #uchimizu!

The old custom of sprinkling water with a ladle or by hand on the ground, called uchimizu, is a well-known example of the use of water in Japan’s daily living. People used to sprinkle water in their house entrances and gardens or in front of their shops to lay the dust and ease the heat, which sometimes implies welcoming of guests.
This year’s mission calls on the public to practice uchimizu 1) every day, 2) on August 14th as often as possible throughout the day, and 3) when the shops are opening if it is sunny.

▼The details will soon be available at the official website.▼

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Director)
・Report from the Japan Water Forum

– Darvish Yu Water Fund: Completion report of the 14th Project in Pakistan

In March 2007, Darvish Yu, a member of the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball, established the “Darvish Yu Water Fund” in collaboration with the Japan Water Forum to supply safe water to those in developing countries who face lack and contamination of water. Since then, he has contributed to the Fund by donating JPY 100,000 at every one of his winning games during the regular season. The Fund has subsidized 14 projects in 11 countries so far. The 14th project named Improving Water Supply and Hygiene in COVID-19 Affected Communities in Pakistan was completed.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼

(Reported by Shigenori Asai, Director, and Miyo Tabata, Assistant Manager)


– The outcomes of the 2nd JWF webinar

The second JWF webinar was held on June 22, with no less than 192 participants from overseas and Japan, mainly from Southeast Asia like Philippines and other countries.

Mr. INOUE Tomoo, Director-General, Water and Disaster Management Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, presented the long term investment in water related risk reduction, which focused on how to reduce economic loss in addition to human loss, and explained the specific solutions and preventive measures for water related disaster. He also mentioned the adaptation measures to climate change, and called for listener’s participation in the 4th APWS.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼

(Reported by Reiko Yoshii, Manager)


– Progress on JWF Fund 2021

The Japan Water Forum Fund (JWF Fund) was founded in 2005 and is solely operated by JWF. The JWF Fund aims to contribute to solving local water-related issues in developing countries by assisting the implementation of sustainable solutions led by grass-roots organizations.
During a month of the application period, the JWF received 406 applications from 37 countries, which submitted by those involved in activities aiming at solving problems of water supply, sanitation, and water-related disasters.
The JWF is now in the process of examining the applications, and the recipients will be announced by middle of September.
The results of the selection will be announced to all applicants by e-mail and the selected projects will be posted on the JWF website.

▼Please visit the following website for details of the JWF Fund▼

(Reported by Akie Gunji, Sub Manager)


– The outcomes of the 11th APWF webinar

The APWF Webinar Series is organized as a part of the preparation for the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS). It aims to provide the government officials of the 49 countries in Asia and the Pacific with the learning opportunities about water and water-related issues highlighted from different perspectives.
The 11th APWF Webinar, organized on 30th June 2021, discussed the pathways toward sustainable, inclusive, and resilient groundwater management in Asia and the Pacific with Dr.Mukherji, Principal Researcher, IWMI New Delhi, and Ms. Kasturirangan, Senior Manager, Arghyam. It primarily looked at India’s national policies and practices at community levels, considering India is the world’s largest user of groundwater.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼

(Reported by Yumiko Asayama, Manager)

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JWF News Vol. 201 / 21 July 2021
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