Program

Water Smart Engagement

Overview

Water utilities in Southeast Asia do not have the latest technologies that could address water insecurity. The United States aims to be a reliable partner to governments and citizens across the region in tackling this critical issue.

In partnership with the Bureau of Oceans & Environmental Sciences (OES), Global Ties U.S. has facilitated initial conversations in building two of an anticipated five city pairings between the U.S. and Southeast Asian cities. Through a series of in-person and virtual exchanges, Southeast Asian water utilities will learn about cutting-edge technologies from their counterparts in the United States and develop action plans to utilize those technologies. Over the next four years, we will support participant interaction, monitoring and evaluation of collaborations, and cultural exchange. Our unique collaboration with the U.S. Water Partnership and the Water Environment Federation allows us to take a holistic program approach that advances foreign policy, environmental security, and technocratic cooperation all while shoring up key regional allies.

Impact

Progress to Date

The project has successfully established three partnerships between water utilities in Southeast Asia and in the United States:

  • Permodalan Darul Ta’zim (PDT; Johor Bahru, Malaysia) <-> DC Water (Washington, DC)
  • Phuket Water Authority (Phuket, Thailand) <-> The Water Council (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) <-> San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC)

To date, these partnerships have consisted of one-on-one virtual engagements that have explored shared challenges and identified potential areas in which the expertise of the U.S. utilities could be applied to assist their Southeast Asian counterparts.

The first formal event of the program was a series of panel discussions that coincided with Singapore International Water Week 2021. Discussions featured senior government officials and technical experts from both Southeast Asia and the United States and explored topics such as non-revenue, water quality, and climate resilience.

Anticipated Outcomes

Five participating Southeast Asian utilities will develop concrete action plans to adapt U.S. technologies to address specific challenges.