© SUEZ / William Daniels

The resource revolution needs women

Susana, Nacky and Eileen: their contribution to a new water resource management

 

# Susana held many campaigns in schools and hotel industry to change Macao into a water efficient city.

 

Susana Wong - Director of Macao Marine and Water Bureau

"I sincerely hope that more women will contribute to the environmental protection and resource management of our planet."

 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management?

My connection with water resource management started in 2005 when Macao was facing the threat of salt tides, a rise of salinity in raw water supplied from the Mainland. Since about 96% of Macao’s water comes from the Mainland, the situation of salt tides was so severe that the Government decided to establish a task force to tackle the problem. Being assigned as the Head of the task force, I had the opportunity to start working with the departments in the Mainland on safeguarding the water supply in Macao. Apart from engaging in Guangdong-Macao cooperation and coordination, I later took part in the formulation of water conservation policies, including the "Macao Water Conservation Master Plan" which sets out the guidelines on how to promote the sustainability of water resources.

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

The government department that I serve has become the supervisory body of the water supply company in Macao and responsible for water resources management. We promulgated the "Macao Water Conservation Master Plan" in 2010 and encouraged different sectors in society to participate in work related to water conservation by means of various policies and measures, such as the reinforcement of promotion and education, the use of rainwater, the popularization of water saving appliances, as well as the reduction of water leakage. In 2011, we established a water tariff system which consists of categories and tiers, based on the "Macao Water Conservation Master Plan", promoting water conservation by economic means as one who consumes more pays more. In recent years, we have been committed to organizing various forms of campaigns in the community, in schools and even in the hotel industry to achieve the goal of transforming Macao into a water efficient city. 

 

And what would be your message to other women to act?

From my own work experience, the area of environmental and resource management used to be a rather male-dominated field, as the work involved used to be mainly about construction and hardware. However, recent environmental policies tend to be focused on the promotion and delivery of environmental awareness. I started to notice that more and more women are working in this field, and even some projects were led by women. I believe women can also play a role in environmental and resource management and I sincerely hope that more women will engage in this industry and contribute to the environmental protection and resource management of our planet. 

 

 

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# Nacky developed a sustainability plan to utilize water resources efficiently and effectively in Macao.

 

Nacky Kuan - Executive Director of Macao Water 

© Nathan Anderson 

"Women must try to move out of their comfort zone."

 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management?

I have been working in Macao Water for more than 24 years and I have served in different functions within the company which include finance, procurement, contracting and regulatory affairs. Macao Water is the first PPP of SUEZ in Asia since 1985 and has been a role model for the use of smart applications solutions.

We consider the environment as one of our top priorities. In 2013, we developed a sustainability plan with the implementation of action plans to utilize water resources efficiently and effectively, have better energy efficiency and to make green purchases. On the other hand, we obtained ISO14001 certification to set up an effective environment management system.

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

Macao Water’s major activity is to provide the drinking water to the whole of Macao Territories. We are successful in minimizing our environmental impacts by improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emission and by carefully disposing our waste from water treatment and distribution operations. We adopted the smart solutions to optimize the water and energy consumption and reduced the water leak ratio in the distribution network. We have also collected the solid waste and more than 25,000 thousands of unused water meters went to recyclers. Furthermore, we continually promote water conservation and work with the Government to launch the recycled water development in Macao.

 

And what would be your message to other women to act?

Women must try to move out of their comfort zone. They should become more forward-looking and creative to shape a more sustainable and qualitative world.

 

 

Like Nacky, are you ready to use water resource efficiently? 
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# Eileen leads the Water Environment Federation as it promotes water reuse, energy generation, and nutrient capture at water resource recovery facilities. 

 

Dr. Eileen O’Neill - Executive Director of the Water Environment Federation

"We need more women in the water profession. You can make a difference to the health and vitality of communities."

 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management?

As early as 2012, when I was its Chief Technical Officer, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) began mobilizing the professionals who design, develop, and operate the systems and technologies that treat "wastewater" to lead the way toward resource recovery, including reusing water, generating energy, and capturing nutrients.
 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

In 2012 WEF developed and adopted the term water resource recovery facilities to be used in place of wastewater treatment plant(s). Our intent was to lead by example and advocate the use of terminology that focuses on the products and benefits of treatment rather than on the waste entering the facilities.

In 2018 we launched the ReNEW Water Project and published the first national estimate of resource recovery by U.S. water utilities. This will help draw attention to the possibilities as well as drive progress. 

 

And what would be your message to other women to act?

We need more women in the water profession so consider this field as an option. You can make a difference to the health and vitality of communities and be literally part of a resource recovery revolution that will improve outcomes for today and for generations to come.  

 

 

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# Gloria works to preserve and optimize water resources in California.

 

Gloria D.Gray - Vice President of West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors

"Don’t be afraid to be the first. Get out ahead and let your voice be heard."

 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management ?

As I often say, I am not a typical water leader. I am not an engineer, a lawyer or a scientist. I came to this role by working in the service of others — first in health care, then in education, finally in water. When I was elected to the West Basin Municipal Water District board 13 years ago, I quickly realized my interest in public service could be realized by a commitment to protect and manage our natural resources. I became aware of the many challenges our region faces – climate change, a growing population, and the need to improve the reliability of our water supply. The only way to meet those challenges is with smart resource management. It’s what has continued to feed my policy decisions to invest in more local resources, such as water recycling, and raise awareness about the importance of water conservation – now and into the future. 

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

Advancing recycled water projects continues to be a major priority of mine. Water is too precious to use just once. I have long supported West Basin’s continued investment in the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo, which now produces about 40 million gallons of recycled water every day. And in my service on the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, I have also supported the Regional Recycled Water Program, a partnership with the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County to purify wastewater and produce high quality water that could be used again. The program is starting with a demonstration facility that goes into operation this spring.

I have also worked to ensure the continued health and sustainability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta during my four years on the Delta Stewardship Council and as a board member for Metropolitan which has supported California WaterFix. These efforts are aimed at advancing the state’s coequal goals for the Delta of having a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem. 


And what would be your message to other women to act ?

Don’t be afraid to be the first. Too often we let others set the agenda. If you want to ensure there is a sustainability-first approach, get out ahead and let your voice be heard. But recognize you can’t act alone. Collaborating with others is key. Prioritizing resource preservation requires buy-in from a lot of people, so we have to work together. If you want to be heard, you also have to listen to others, no matter who they are, where they come from or whether they have a different opinion. Embrace that diversity – of thought, of solutions – to build coalitions. Our challenges are very complex and diverse input provides better solutions. 

 

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