The objectives of the programme are:
(1) To expose DEWT students to sustainable development, water resources and the ecosystem through visits to wetland, nature reserves, reservoirs, water treatment works and geological park;
(2) To develop global mindsets amongst the DEWT students
The contingent consisted of 15 DEWT students led by Dr. Handojo Djati Utomo. They were divided into 3 groups: water, air and soil, to work in their team for any planned activities.
On the first day, we learned the inherent values of wetlands and how to conserve them. For a start the students were required to carry out some weeding works before a briefing. This was followed by a guided tour to learn some interesting features of plants and ecosystem in wetlands. .
On the 2nd day, we visited the School of Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). HKUST is a famous university ranking number 1 amongst World's Top 300 Asian Universities (3 years in a row) based on QS Asian University Rankings 2011 – 2013. It is also amongst the World's Top 50 Universities under 50 based on QS Top 50 Under 50 2013.
After a briefing by the school administrator, we were given a guided tour of the civil engineering lab facilities. Some researchers explained the nature of work done in the hydraulic lab and the environmental engineering lab. We also toured the Library and some interesting facilities at the School of Engineering.
In the afternoon, we visited Ocean Park and learned about water treatment process in Behind-the-Scenes Grand Aquarium Ed-Venture. Although we were not able to take photos during the special visit, we were able to appreciate how they run the system. Approximately 8 large tanks are used to store water from the RO system. Fully automatic control systems are used to purify the seawater. The students also got to enjoy some rides on the various roller coasters.
On the 3rd day, formal lectures were conducted followed by a visit to Shatin Water Treatment Works, the largest in Hong Kong. The waterworks provides treated water to Shatin, Kow Loong and part of Hong Kong island. Students enjoyed the visit including the demonstration of the backwash process. They also appreciated the slightly different approach adopted by PUB in Singapore. Instead of rectangular sedimentation tanks, large clarifiers followed by filtration system using sand and anthracite were used. Fluoride, instead of ammonia, was added at the final stage of treatment.
The afternoon session was very challenging with a trip to Sai Kung site (rare acidic polygonal volcanic rock columns) followed by trekking up to the High Island Reservoir East Dam. Although we had our own van, we were not allowed to go up the hill. Instead we were driven up in 4 taxis. We went on a geological trail about 1.1 km long from East Dam and enjoyed the marvellous landform along the trail such as hexagonal rock columns, faults, distorted rocks and an intrusive dyke. A tour guide explained the history of the reservoir and the geological formations in the surrounding areas. Students learned about and touched some interesting type of granite, feldspar, silica, and other interesting minerals that ordinary people rarely speak about.
On the 4th day, we took the ferry to Lamma Island to visit Lamma Winds, a wind turbine operating at 5.5 m/s in Tai Ling. Students also had the opportunity to bond and have some fun. They were given time to fly kites on the beach near Lamma Power Station. We managed to try some local food whilst 3 students shared their experience of the trip with the rest of the group.
On the last day, we developed another bonding game activity on Victoria Peak before heading back to the airport. The students was divided into 3 teams i.e. air, water and soil. They were given plastic and paper to protect themselves from water bomb attacks from the other groups.
After a fruitful trip, we left for Singapore in the afternoon arriving at Changi Airport at 7.10 pm.