Program for Capacity Building in
Global Water-Environmental Engineering



Sotobori restoration—beginning of a challenging research project

A five-member student team (consisting of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese university students) participating in the Program for Capacity Building in Global Water-Environment Engineering (hereinafter referred to as "the Program") made a presentation of their study on the cause and degree of seriousness of the water quality deterioration of Sotobori (the outer moat of the historic Edo castle) on April 14, 2014, at the lecture meeting on Sorobori's water quality problems held at the JSCE auditorium by Japan Project-Industry Council ("the Council").
Sotobori is an invaluable open space remaining at the heart of Tokyo. This space, however, is not being used effectively nor is it being managed properly. With the aim of turning that precious space into a beautiful space where citizens can relax, to which they can escape in the event of a disaster and of which not only Tokyoites but also the rest of the country can feel proud, the Council and four universities located near Sotobori including Chuo University (i.e. Tokyo University of Science, Hosei University, Chuo University and Tokyo City University) are jointly working in various activities related to the Sotobori restoration scheme. The study being conducted by the training program participants is part of such activities.
With the whole country already in the process of the preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there are growing expectations for improving Sotobori's water environment as a timely project. There are also growing problems, however, attributable to urbanization-related changes such as the development of road and underground transportation networks that are causing adverse effects such as a decrease in stormwater-absorbing capacity. In order to improve Sotobori's water environment, not only technological enhancements but also cooperation with the local community are essential. Taking these circumstances into consideration, the student team is supposed to come up with effective improvement measures.
Without prejudice to nationality, the five members of the student team are working together on activities such as research planning, data collection, literature search and presentation. Thus, the Program is creating an environment for Japanese and foreign students to study together and providing practical education in close cooperation with industry. Under the Program, down-to-earth activities are being carried out to develop specialists capable of coming up with and implementing comprehensive improvement measures in connection with water environments in various parts of the world.