The host cities of the 7th World Water Forum: Daegu and Gyeongbukdo, shared the water actions in their cities on the first day of the 4th Local Governments and Regional Authorities Conference.
Known as the “water city of Korea”, Daegu has abundant water infrastructure and a large pool of highly trained water experts, producing some 17,000 graduates every year.
Besides the 18 water and sewage treatment facilities already in place, the city has also embarked on a three-year project – the Korea Water Industry Cluster, which will be composed of supporting facilities, test-bed and business complexes in the city’s national industrial park. By hosting researchers, technical experts and around 200 businesses related to the water industry, the cluster is expected to spearhead the country’s water industry and to provide home for an international water network.
Similar to Daegu city, Gyeongbuk-do also faces water pollution problem due to rapid industrialization since the 1970s. To restore rivers and improve water quality, the province has established the Watershed Council comprised of local residents, local authorities, experts and non-government organizations.
Although the restoration project initially received many negative responses, the Council eventually succeeded to convince residents and local government officials through education, incentives and continuous dialogues. By making the Council a permanent entity, and putting strong emphasis on preventive measures and integrated actions, the province’s TMDL project does not only illustrate the significance of local authorities in urban water management, but also the crucial role of participation and coordination to resolve conflict and to bring about consensus between different stakeholders in the community, as well as between different government levels.