January 13, 2020

Water Smart Engagements (WiSE) to Pair U.S. and ASCN Cities on Water Issues

Starting in early 2020 and lasting three years, Water Smart Engagements (WiSE) will pair three ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) cities with U.S. cities, water districts and utilities for the purpose of collective capacity building and innovative technology familiarization.  The program will be a two-way exchange program that matches ASEAN and U.S. urban water and sewerage entities to their counterparts for a "twinning." The overall purpose of the program is three-fold:  first, to increase water security in ASEAN partner cities through sustainable water management solutions; second, to establish long-term relationships between ASEAN and U.S. utilities to foster communication and build capacity; and third, to increase the exchange of services, goods, science and technology.

ASEAN cities' water supplies have been affected by the rapid increase of water use for urban, industrial, and agricultural activities, which has resulted in depletion of groundwater and severe pollution of both groundwater and surface water. Storms, droughts and floods have exacerbated existing problems. Improved management of surface and groundwater resources and the sanitation of domestic and industrial wastewater are serious needs. The U.S. partner cities will be among our most innovative and dynamic, excelling in the use of smart technology in monitoring and implementation of water and wastewater solutions to meet these challenges. ASEAN cities participating in WiSE will visit U.S. locations where proven technology winners have been implemented or where innovative solutions are currently being deployed.


The program will be composed of four exchanges for each of the three city pairs, two from each ASEAN city and two from each U.S. city. The first two U.S.-ASEAN WiSE city pairs will be:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and San Francisco, California
  2. Phuket, Thailand and Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A third city pair will be announced in early 2020.  The study tours will occur during the U.S. summer and fall of 2020-2022.  In the spring quarters, the city pairs will participate in virtual conferences, and during the winter quarters, the focus will be on monitoring and evaluation efforts, to ensure maximum benefit for the ASEAN partner cities.


  • In July 2020, U.S. representatives from each city will go to Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) and then fan out to visit their respective partner cities in the region.
  • In October 2020, ASEAN utility executives and operators from each of the three cities will attend the Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans, then fan out to visit their respective U.S. partner cities.
  • In 2021, there will be additional visits to Singapore and ASCN cities in July and to WEFTEC in Chicago and U.S. cities in October.
  • In July 2022, a final capstone visit by utility representatives will be made to SIWW.


WEFTEC is the largest annual water quality conference and exhibition in the world, and with over 20,000 attendees annually, offers water quality professionals from around the globe access to best-in-class water technologies.  WEFTEC's expansive show floor provides unparalleled access to the most cutting-edge advancements in the field; serves as a forum for domestic and international business opportunities; and promotes invaluable peer-to-peer networking.

SIWW has been the most important platform in Southeast Asia for the global water industry since its launch in 2008.  Its flagship programs include the Water Leaders Summit, Water Convention, Water Expo, Business Forums, Hydro-Gen and Industrial Water Solutions.

Chris Rich
Executive Director, USWP
Jenna Shinen, Ph.D.
Grant Manager, OES/ECW
Carol Lynn MacCurdy
Direct Oversight, OES/ECW