Singapore’s Public Utility Board (PUB) believes that it has an innovative answer as to how to improve water quality in Singapore.
PUB is responsible for the collection, production, distribution and reclamation of water in Singapore. For a country that, for a large amount of its lifetime, relied on importing water from Malaysia to moderate its water scarcity, water quality in Singapore is an important issue. Hence, PUB’s mission to “ensure an efficient, adequate and sustainable supply of water” is quite a big deal.
The organization’s solution came the form of a project called the “Four National Taps,” comprised of imported water from Malaysia, local catchment, NEWater and desalinated water.
Understanding how these “taps” work is essential to understanding why the water quality in Singapore is now reported to be very good. The local catchment tap involves the collection of rainwater running through more than 8,000 kilometers (or 4,970.97 miles) of waterways to one of the 17 reservoirs located around the country.
Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater. Singapore’s two desalination plants alone allow PUB to meet 25 percent of the nation’s water need. The NEWater tap includes the use of advanced technologies to treat used water so it may be used for drinking and industrial use– essentially recycling water. This tap has been proven to be both cost-effective and efficient and is used to supply 30 percent of the nation’s water demand; by 2060 it is expected to meet 55 percent of the nation’s demand.
The NEWater tap includes the use of advanced technologies to treat used water so it may be used for drinking and industrial use, essentially recycling water. This tap has been proven to be both cost-effective and efficient and is used to supply 30 percent of the nation’s water demand; by 2060 it is expected to meet 55 percent of the nation’s demand.
PUB takes water quality in Singapore very seriously, claiming that Singapore’s tap water is now “well within the World Health Organization drinking water guidelines and U.S. Environmental Public Health (Quality of Piped Drinking Water) Regulations.”
The drive for Singapore to have and maintain high-quality water is further illustrated through its initiation of several community-focused programs to educate citizens on the importance of the conversation and appreciation of water. Minister Vivian Balakrishnan stated: “although we can be confident of meeting our water needs, let us remember that every drop of water is precious. Do continue to practice good water-saving habits and avoid unnecessary consumption. We can make every drop count.”
– Obinna Ikechukwu Iwuji