As a small nation without any natural resources Singapore is extremely vulnarable when it comes to its energy and clean water needs.
Total water use
Total average daily consumption : 1,230,000m3 = 1.23 billion litres.
- Domestic consumption : 162 litres pp/pd = 713 million litres or
- Industrial use : 517,000m3/day (517 million litres)
The government has recognized via the PUB (Public Utilities Board) 4 main sources of water :
- Water import from Johore, Malaysia
- Rainwater catches
- NEWater (recyled water)
- Desalinated water
Before rainwater and imported water from Malaysia accounted 50-50 for all Singapore's water needs.
NEWater is recycled waste water mainly for industrial use. The last 4 years 4 NEWater plants have been put in operation. Expansion of the NEWater plants is already being implemented.
The use of NEWater (2007) is 184,000m3/day (15% of the total daily consumption and 35.6% of the total daily industrial requirement). In 2005 this was still 92,000m3/day (7.5% of total daily consumption and 17.8% of the daily industrial requirement which was already an increase of 35.3% vs. 2004).
A local company called Dayen Environmental Ltd has developed a new purification process : Membrane bioreactor.
A demonstration plant was opened in the 3rd quarter of 2006. The membrane bioreactor combines the aeration and final sedimentation steps in used water and the microfiltration/ultrafiltration steps in the NEWater production. This will mean great cost savings as well as space saving since a membrane bioreactor uses only 20% of the space of the current NEWater plants.
At the start of 2007 the 4th NEWater plant in Ulu Pandan became operational doubling the previous capacity. Combined with increased output of the first 3 facilities NEWater covers the industrial water needs to a large extend.
In September 2005 a desalination plant at SingSpring has been opened with an output of 136 million litres/day (136,000m3) which amounts to around 10% of Singapore daily needs.
Rainwater as a "free" source of water supply has not been forgotten. Plans are being developed to increase the capacity if the catchment area's by constructing a dam at the estuary of 3 Singapore rivers. When this will be developed 2/3 of Singapore's surface will be covered by rainfall catchment area's. It remains to be seen if this is a viable option.
Whatever the plans it is obvious Singapore is extremely serious when it comes to increased self-sufficiency of water supply and the country is at the cutting edge of water-technology. The water desalination plant in SingSpring is a prime example. But also the NEWater technologies, although perhaps less spectacular, will form a major contribution to Singapore's water supply.
Source : Public Utilities Board, Singapore