Dimensions of water management in the industrial sector should not be overlooked in today’s world. Water has now become an important factor in doing business. The Inside Water Team is honored to interview Ms. Panrat Phechpakdee, Acting Director of the Water Institution for Sustainability. Ms. Panrat is also a Senior Director of the Industrial Environment Institute. She will speak on the role of the Water Institution for Sustainability and the current direction of water management in Thailand.
Ms. Panrat began with the background of the Water Institution for Sustainability:
"The Water Institution for Sustainability is part of the Institute's Council under the Federation of Thai Industries. It was established because of its importance and the amount of water used by the industrial sector for water security. There are also water conflicts in the community regarding the amount of good water and waste water. The Federation of Thai Industries views these issues as an initial cost of production. Water is not available everywhere and never runs out. But it must be well managed. This is why the institutions were set up. The main objective is to focus on water. At first there was some discussion that institutions should only focus on industrial water related factors, but the board of directors felt that we could not just focus on industrial water itself because water is also vital to farming, tourism and the community in general. Therefore the Water Institute covers all areas of the problem."
"The direction of sustainable water management initially started in 2002. That year the Eastern seaboard had a severe water shortage i.e. Rayong and the problem of water scarcity. Water is considered to be a raw material in production, so if there is no water there is a big problem for the industrial sector. From that point on water was considered to be a catalyst in helping us set up the Institution and establish a clear direction. The strategy was that we mainly focus on industry and enhance water management, as a network. This is to view from the ‘inside- out’ - by looking at ourselves first and how we could expand the Network. One of the strategies was to introduce projects that could help industrial plants manage their own water projects i.e. ‘3R’ (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). This would be done in conjunction with the Groundwater Development Fund and the Department of Underground Water Resources. Another project viewed from the inside to out (inside-out) is called ‘Guidelines for the Management of Water for the Industrial Sector’. We are now working on managing water plans for use in 14 central provinces. The Plan will focus on provinces with many industries and will analyze the actual supply and demand situation. We will plan for stability and reduce conflicts that are taking place across the board. This is what we do on the ‘inside-out’."
Vision, Mission, and Cooperation between the Public and Private Sectors
"I would like to start with our vision – ‘We are an innovative organization with well- managed and integrated sustainable water management ability.’ The keywords are innovation and integration. Our work will focus on integration by network with the emphasis on innovation. One of the projects we are trying to promote to factories is ‘best practice’ and ‘new trends’. This year, we have more than 100 factories with well managed water management case studies on best practices and how to expand further. The institute then addresses the problem areas i.e. currently water is an issue in the North East provinces, where there is drought. We then work with partners from abroad to bring in some of their technology. For example, if there has been heavy rain – can the water be compressed into the ground? If not, how do you store it? Another example is the issue of salt-water intrusion into Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani Province and other places. The technologies are needed to alleviate the problem of salt-water intrusion that came up with the Chaophraya river or Bangpakun problems. This is a matter of knowledge and innovation. We do not conduct the research ourselves but work through network integration and cooperation with organizations and agencies that have the knowledge. We also work as an intermediary in connection with public sector. With the projects mentioned above, the council did not act alone but worked through a process called ‘War Room’. This is essentially work collaboration between the public and private sectors."
Activities organized by The Water Institution For Sustainability, Federation of Thai Industries and UBM
“We have been working with UBM on the subject of the environment and water. The work is, of course, our business and we appreciate the fact that UBM is professionally involved in this important market and has put us in contact with good partners. Entech Pollutec Asia and Thai Water Expo have continued to expand over the years and the collaboration between the Institute and UBM underlines the fact that we are trying to connect with entrepreneurs or groups of people who have the technology. The show has some limitations so our support of UBM has continued in two parts: the first is in terms of technical and academic assistance - we provide information on academic, technical and related needs for the industrial sector. The institutions already have information. When the company seeks further information on a certain industry or trend, we make recommendations. When we suggest this UBM will know the needs of the industry which may result in organizing road-shows to meet the requirements of this particular industrial sector. We believe this is helpful to a variety of industries. Another example is the exhibition itself, the Federation of Thai Industries will also exhibit along with several working groups. We also help to coordinate and promote the main activities of all groups within the Federation. These activities are promoted and communicated to various members. We work together as co-organizers for the benefit of all.”