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[Herald Interview] Hydro Asia 2014 highlights climate change and water issues

Climate change is emerging as a critical factor in the development of a sustainable water management model as many countries across the world have suffered from various water-related natural disasters, such as unprecedented drought and floods triggered by changing climate conditions.

“Climate change is no longer a story that we are far from, but it is a serious problem that we are facing today,” said Choi Gye-woon, CEO of Korea Water Resources Corp. ― also known as K-water ― in his opening remarks for the Hydro Asia 2014 conference, which opened Monday. 
Choi Gye-woon, CEO of Korea Water Resources Corp.
Choi Gye-woon, CEO of Korea Water Resources Corp.

The regional academic event is designed to bring together professors and university students from more than 10 countries to discuss water management issues. The six-day meeting will last until July 26.

“There is no doubting the urgency we face in discussing the causes and solutions for climate change in various ways in an effort to cope with water issues,” Choi said.

The devastating effect of climate change is already evident. In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, wreaking havoc on the region. This year, North America suffered a severely cold winter that was said to be worse than in the South Pole.

This was why Hydro Asia chose “climate change and scientific water management” as the theme of this year’s gathering, according to the organizers.

Because climate change is threatening all sectors, including water management, it has become a universal issue that must be dealt with on all levels, Choi added.

Furthermore, according to the intergovernmental panel on climate change reports, Asia is extremely vulnerable to climate change, meaning it may fall prey to significant socioeconomic losses tied to it.

“Throughout the conference, all participants will be given the opportunity to discuss the ways to resolve water-related problems and how we may adapt to climate change,’’ the CEO said.

The attendees will also have a chance to get a glimpse of scientific water management that has become the principle for controlling Korea’s Geum River. The management process has been broken down into hydraulics and hydrology, water quality and water resources policies.

“We hope the conference can offer a chance for youths who will eventually become leaders and pioneers on the issue of water management, to actively participate in relevant discussions,” Choi said.

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)
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