Shanghai World Expo examines water's significance to cities

14:04, May 06, 2010      

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"What is the significance of water to a city?"

The Shanghai World Expo is trying to answer the question.

"With the (World Water Council) pavilion, we want to show the connection between the city and where water comes from. Better city or better life, from what we see, is directly connected to good water," said Director General of World Water Council Ger Bergkamp in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

The World Water Council (WWC) Pavilion is inside the International Organizations Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. Ger Bergkamp said it is the first time the WWC has had a pavilion at the World Expo, even though WWC organizes the World Water Forum every three years.

Painted on the floor of the pavilion is a masterpiece featuring a city with a flowing blue river. Inside the pavilion, there are a corner for children, a "water Internet corner," a small cinema and pillars on which screens show documentaries about water.

"What the pavilion shows is how water affects our life, and how important water is for avoiding disasters, and for having food and producing energy," Bergkamp said.

In his view, China is facing challenges when it comes to water, with a growing population and changes in lifestyles necessitating more and more water.

"At the same time, we also see that China is not alone. There are many countries that also have very similar problems. We need to solve these problems together. No country alone can solve all the problems," he said.

"With the pavilion, we raise the awareness of the expo visitors' about the importance of the water in the daily life of the city and make people more aware of water issues in other places of the world," he added.

What children think of water and what water means for them is an important topic as well. "We hope our young visitors will learn in their early life about how important water is," Bergkamp said.

He said the Chinese government is very much aware of the challenges relating to water.

"What is needed is more awareness and willingness by people and businesses to change their behavior," he said.

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