Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Introduction to Singapore Water Supply

Pandan Reservoir (Public Utilities Board, 2012)

Singapore has a land area of 714.3 sq km (Statistics Singapore, 2011), which is about 3.5 times of Washington D.C. However, unlike other countries, Singapore lacks natural resources. There is a need to ensure the supply of water for the growing population.

With the lack of natural freshwater lake and Singapore’s limited water catchment areas, Singapore managed to increase the water supply with the help of our neighboring country, Malaysia. Initially, 80% of Singapore’s water supply came from our neighboring country (Chowdury, 2009). However, this over reliance acted as a weakness to this country.

With that in mind, the Singapore’s government has explored ways to wean off from our neighboring country, and has partially succeeded with the emergence of technologies such as desalination and the production of NEWater. Apart from that, to further enhance and increase the water supply, the Singapore government has increased the number of water catchment areas.

As of now, Singapore’s water supply comes from four channels (Public Utilities Board, 2012):

a) Local Catchment Areas
The local catchment areas consist of rivers and reservoirs. In Singapore, there are a total of 17 reservoirs and 27 rivers (Public Utilities Board, 2012).

b) Imported Water
Our imported water mainly comes from Malaysia and the agreement will end in 2061 (Public Utilities Board,2012). Currently, 40% of the water is imported from Malaysia (Chee, 2010).

c) NEWater
NEWater treats used water with reverse osmosis water, making water to be recyclable. There are altogether 4 plants of NEWater in Singapore – Ulu Panda, Changi, Bedok and Kranji. NEWater produces 30% of our nation’s water needs (Public Utilities Board, 2012).

d) Desalinated Water
Desalinated water comes from seawater, and it is based on reverse osmosis. Water desalination fulfills 10% of our nation’s water needs (Public Utilities Board, 2012).