Sunday, 2 November 2008
the water of Singapore
a little about the water of Singapore, mainly because so many people ask me "is it safe to drink" ....... and the answer is YES!
Rains and Singapore are like a twin brother. Lying in the tropical zone, the country is always moist and faces heavy rainfall; the rain in Singapore usually comes shortly, but intensively. Rainstorms cover about 40% of the period in the so called "rainy season" of November to January........
(Though if you read my previous posts regarding the weather, the rain really is all year long!!)
Although Singapore faces heavy rainfalls, it lacks adequate water supply for its population and has to import the water from Malaysia. A worrying fact for the Singaporean is that its current water contract with Malaysia will not provide sufficient water supply for the next decade. The other alternatives such as desalination or water importation from Indonesia will raise the water cost up to almost 10 folds, thus levying a heavy burden on the Singaporeans. Singapore, an insular island, lacks fresh water till they have to pay for fresh water imported from Malaysia, but due to its expense, they may not sign the new contract for the next decade. In order to save bills, the authority has been finding the way to provide fresh water for Singaporeans on their own.
.... and from Wikipedia....
The water resources of Singapore are especially precious given the small amount of land and territory in Singapore's geography while having a large urban population in the city-state. Without natural freshwater lakes, the primary domestic source of water in Singapore is rainfall, collected in reservoirs or water catchment areas. Prior to the opening of the Marina Bay reservoir, rainfall supplied approximately 50% of Singapore's water; that should now be about 67% due to the additional catchment area.
The remainder is imported from Malaysia, recycled from waste water (producing NEWater) and produced via desalination.
This "four tap" strategy aims to reduce reliance on foreign supply and to diversify Singapore's water sources.NEWater is the brand name given to reclaimed water produced by Singapore's public utilities. More specifically, it is treated wastewater (sewage) that has been purified using dual-membrane (via microfiltration and reverse osmosis) and ultraviolet technologies, in addition to conventional water treatment processes.
There are three NEWater factories, located at the Bedok, Kranji Water Reclamation Plants, and Seletar Water Reclamation Plant, producing about 20 million US gallons per day (0.9 m³/s).
About 6% of this is used for indirect potable use, which contributes 1 % of Singapore's potable water requirements of 300 million US gallons per day (13 m³/s). The rest of the water is used at wafer fabrication plants and other non-potable applications in industries. The fourth recycling plant, with a capacity of 32 million gallons per day opened in Ulu Pandan on 15 March 2007. With this new capacity coming on stream, NEWater can now meet 15 % of Singapore's water needs.
On 13 September 2005, the country opened its first desalination plant by SingSpring, a fully-owned subsidiary of Hyflux. The plant, located at Tuas, produces 30 million gallons of water (136,380 m³) each day. Worth S$200 million, it is one of the biggest in the world and meets 10 percent of the country's water needs.
The plant also produces bottled water called the Desal H2O. At the desalination plant, sea water is forced through plastic membranes with microscopic pores to extract dissolved salts. Silt is removed by dousing the seawater with chemicals that coagulate the particles. Coinciding with the official opening of the desalination plant, the International Desalination Association (IDA) held its 6-day World Congress in Singapore.
About six hundred experts and delegates attended the congress to discuss about desalination and water reuse. Several experts suggested that Singapore could become the world's water hub for water recycling and desalination technology and could export this technology to the world including China. Dr Masaru Kurihara, director of IDA, said that with the new technology in water reclamation, waste water would become the most important sustainable water resource in the future.
Singapore International Water Week - June 22 - 26 2009