SINGAPORE: NEWater is now able to supply up to 40 per cent of Singapore's total daily water demand, up from 30 per cent, with the opening of Singapore's fifth NEWater plant on Wednesday (Jan 18).
The new facility, located at Changi Water Reclamation Plant, is the size of about seven-and-a-half football fields. It has the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of water a day - enough to fill about 92 Olympic-sized pools - according to national water agency PUB.
This is also PUB's first public-private partnership involving a foreign company. PUB had awarded the contract to design, build and operate the plant to a consortium formed by Beijing Enterprise Water Group International (BEWGI) and local environmental engineering company UES Holdings.
PUB said collaborations with the private sector have enabled them to explore, pilot and implement new technologies to increase Singapore’s water resources and improve efficiencies in water production.
The new plant brings Singapore closer to its aim of meeting 85 per cent of its water needs through NEWater and desalination by 2060. The four other NEWater plants are located in Bedok, Kranji, Ulu Pandan and Changi.
NEWater, or highly purified reclaimed water, is one of Singapore's Four National Taps - the country's strategy for water security - along with local catchment water, imported water and desalinated water.
"In our minds, the H2O molecule is never lost and water is an endlessly reusable resource. Used water can always be reclaimed and retreated so that it can be consumed again," said PUB's chief executive Ng Joo Hee. "Singapore leads the world in this."
CONTINUED CHALLENGES IN WATER SUPPLY
Even as Singapore celebrates its achievements in water technology, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said Singapore must remain mindful that the country continues to face challenges in water supply.
"Our largest tap - imported water- as well as water from local catchments are weather-dependent," he said at the official opening of the plant.
He noted that the water level at Johor's Linggiu Reservoir, which regulates the flow of water in the Johor River, fell from 80 per cent in early 2015 to a historic low of 20 per cent in October 2016, before making a slow recovery to 27 per cent currently.
Mr Masagos said PUB will continue to make major investments in water infrastructure to strengthen Singapore's resilience against uncertainties but that ultimately, Singaporeans must be prudent in their use of water.
"We must press on with water conservation and efficiency, both in our daily personal usage and in the non-domestic sector," said Mr Masagos.
"Every drop of water conserved means less resources and costs needed to invest in additional supply."