The Nakdong River, which flows across the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region, has been the center of
Confucian culture in Andong,
Buddhist culture during the Unified Silla Dynasty, and
Dae-Gaya culture in Goryeong.
In the past, the Nakdong River served as the epicenter of trade and business. As the origin of the Gumi National Industrial Complex that expedited Korea’s industrial development and of the New Community Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, the river has spearheaded the nation’s economic growth.
However, the Nakdong River also experienced severe difficulties during the course of industrial development.
The Geumho River, the main source of pollution in the Nakdong River, became a severely contaminated river whose water could not even be used for agricultural purposes, and experienced massive pollution of drinking water resources, including phenol contamination. The river was also embroiled in a dispute over water resources between upstream and downstream regions in the course of industrialization, and incurred massive damage due to regular seasonal floods.
However, the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region has exerted far-reaching efforts to overcome such hardships.
Water pollution accidents, including phenol contamination, eventually served to help expedite the enhancement of Korea’s waterworks, while Daegu won a United Nations environmental award by improving the water quality of the Geumho River, the main source of pollution, and transforming it into an eco-friendly waterway. Daegu also restored the Shincheon stream in the city center, and transformed it into a water park that supplies a place for citizens to cool off during the hot summer weather as well as a habitat for otters, a natural treasure.
Daegu has exerted strenuous efforts to resolve the water dispute between upstream and downstream regions through legislation and other measures. As a result, the metropolitan city has built up more water-related wisdom and know-how than any other city.
The Nakdong River, the representative model of the Four River Restoration Project being implemented by the central government will perfectly demonstrate the success story of this ambitious project to participants of the Seventh World Water Forum.
The Nakdong River Restoration project, which calls for the securing of ample water supplies, the prevention of floods, the improvement of water quality, the creation of ecological wetlands, the restoration of municipal streams and the creation of water-friendly spaces, will present an ideal model of Eco-friendly Green Growth of the 21st Century.
Moreover, the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region is making far-reaching efforts to nurture the water industry, including
a drive to cultivate the water industry into a new engine of sustainable future growth by constructing a Blue Gold Cluster,
a government-assisted project, and
conducting a village well development project, which calls for the development of Daegu underground water, a natura
l mineral water that surpasses France’s Evian brand in quality.
The Daegu-Gyeongbuk region is more aware of the preciousness of water than any other region; has more things to show and tell regarding water; boasts a good number of historical legacies designated as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites, including Andong and Gyeongju; and possesses ample experience in hosting large-scale international events such as the IAAF World Championships in Athletics Daegu 2011 and the upcoming World Energy Congress (WEC) Daegu 2013. As such, the region will be an ideal place to host a gathering of people from around the world who will meet to discuss water-related issues.
We hope to see you all in Daegu, Korea in March 2015.