By Tang See Kit, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 29 June 2009 1730 hrs

Hyflux SINGAPORE: This year's Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) has seen more deals flowing in, despite the current economic downturn.

The four-day event, which ended last week, saw S$2.2 billion worth of deals signed. This is six times what was achieved last year.

The SIWW saw several industry players like Hyflux and GE inking deals to boost research and development as well as further enhance their global presence.

Singapore's water-technology firm Hyflux expanded its plans in the Middle East region by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Swiss-based ABB for the company's project in Algeria worth S$28 million.

Hyflux also entered a joint venture with General Desalination Company (GDC) to develop two seawater desalination plants in Libya.

The SIWW also witnessed industry players collaborating with educational firms to expand their research and development capabilities.

Multinational company GE entered a partnership worth S$150 million with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to work on a research and development centre to develop safe drinking water systems across Asia.

Event organisers said these deals signified that the water industry is poised for further growth across all sectors, despite the gloomy global economy.

SIWW's managing director, Michael Toh, said: "I think (for) the water industry, the solutions provided have to cover all these (different areas). You know, in the plant, you have instrumentation, (and) you need chemicals, you need the pumps, you need the valves. So I think as a whole, the industry will grow."

Currently, Singapore's Environment and Water Industry Development Council (EWI) aims to triple the value-added (VA) contribution from the water industry to S$1.7 billion, which represents 0.6% of the GDP, by 2015.

Employment within the sector is also expected to double to about 11,000 people, with a majority in the professional and skilled categories.

Moving forward, organisers are seeking to brand the Water Week as a global platform for water solutions.

Jimmy Lau, managing director of Singapore Airshow & Events, said: "The whole value chain of the water industry is here and there will continually be discussions going on and looking for solutions, which is what the Water Week here in Singapore concentrates on. And so we expect the event to throw up a lot more opportunities, both technology as well as getting more funding for projects for water."

The SIWW attracted more than 10,000 attendees from 85 countries, up from last year's 8,500 visitors. More than 420 companies from some 28 countries took part in the SIWW.

28 new products and technologies were also unveiled for the first time at the event's Water Expo's Innovation Corner.

- CNA/ir

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