Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has highlighted the indispensability of water and a Civil Engineering graduate-turned water expert believes stakeholders such as public and private individuals must infuse more investments in Water Science and Water Engineering.
KWR Water Research Institute (KWR in The Netherlands) chief executive officer Prof. Dragan Savic defined Water Science as “an all-encompassing term for various science activities aimed at a better understanding of the natural water cycle — a continuing process of evaporation, condensation, precipitation and groundwater influence, as water moves naturally from oceans and rivers to the atmosphere and land-and urban water cycle including water and wastewater-engineered infrastructure; it involves chemical and microbiological water quality, water resource management, hydrology/hydraulics, pipe networks and flood protection, among other related fields.”
Savic explained that Water Engineering is a “branch of Civil Engineering dealing with water and wastewater infrastructure from dams, flood control schemes to water distribution and wastewater/urban drainage networks.”
KWR is an independent non-profit research institute supporting Dutch water utilities in supplying the highest quality non-chlorinated drinking water. It provides solutions for environmental challenges such as water-food-energy issues.
Savic was email interviewed after his participation at the recent webinar “WASH (Water/Sanitation/Hygiene) for the Goals: Ensuring Clean Water and Sanitation for All” hosted by the University of the Philippines (Diliman Campus, Quezon City)-CIFAL Philippines (of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research).
In the webinar, Savic discussed the Digital Epidemic Observatory Management System (DEMOS), an Artificial Intelligence-powered/Cloud-based technology of the KWR and the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (The Netherlands), developed from the years of research on wastewater-based epidemiology and hydroinformatics.
Savic and IHE’s Prof. Damir Brdjanovic, also a webinar participant, are the lead scientists in the DEMOS project, which allows the early virus detection and possible outbreaks through the monitoring of the sewers and from there come up with precautionary measures and health guidelines. DEMOS is to “better understand how epidemics evolve over time and space through monitoring sewers and sanitation practices (as well as) help prepare governments and the (healthcare community including civil society) prepare for epidemics such as the one caused by the SARS-CoV2.”
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