- POSTED: 18 Sep 2013 21:29
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Singapore took a major step towards being self-sufficient in its water supply on Wednesday with the opening of the Tuaspring Desalination Plant.
SINGAPORE: Singapore took a major step towards being self-sufficient in its water supply on Wednesday with the opening of the Tuaspring Desalination Plant.
It is Asia's largest seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant and the second for Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who opened the plant, said what was once "a strategic weakness" for Singapore is now a "source of thought leadership and competitive advantage".
The new plant adds 70 million gallons of desalinated water daily to Singapore's water supply, tripling the supply from the country's fourth "national tap".
That amount is more than the capacity of 125 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The other three "taps" are local water catchments, imported water and NEWater.
Mr Lee said Singapore has come a long way since independence in 1965, when the country was almost totally dependent on water supply from neighbouring Johor, Malaysia.
Today, the country is able to supply a large part of its water needs by itself.
But Mr Lee said Singaporeans should not take that for granted.
He listed several factors that enabled Singapore to move towards self-sufficiency in its water supply, and chief among them was political leadership.
Water, Mr Lee said, was a matter of survival.
He added that a major political decision was made to price water properly in Singapore.
Mr Lee explained: "It was a difficult political decision because very few countries have done it and it affects every household. But it's a way to make people take water seriously, take conservation seriously to minimise wastage and abuse. But it is not the only thing we do. Because at the same time, as we price our water properly, we also have USave to defray low-income households' utility bills so that nobody is unable to afford the water which they need."
Tuaspring will deliver desalinated water to PUB over a 25-year period from this year to 2038.
The combined capacity of the two desalination plants, including Singapore's first desalination plant Singspring, meets 25 per cent of Singapore's current water needs.
Both plants are built by Singapore water solutions company Hyflux.