NEWater to meet 40% of Singapore’s water needs with fifth plant

TOH EE MING Today Online 18 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE – The Republic’s fifth NEWater plant in Changi officially opened on Wednesday (Jan 18), enabling NEWater to now to meet 40 per cent of Singapore’s total daily water demand, as concern over water supply grows.

Speaking at the launch, Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said that water being a scarce resource, it has always been an "existential issue" for Singapore.

He noted that the water levels of Johor's Linggiu Reservoir, which enables Singapore to draw water for import, have fallen from 80 per cent in early 2015 to 20 per cent in October last year, before making a "slow recovery" to the current 27 per cent. The situation has been made worse by the "frequent and prolonged" dry weather, he added.

"If the level of the Linggiu Reservoir continues to fall, the water supply for both Johor and Singapore would be affected," he said. The latest NEWater plant is one of the major investments in water infrastructure to strengthen Singapore's resilience against weather uncertainties, he added.

NEWater is produced from treated used water that is further purified using advanced membrane technologies and ultraviolet disinfection. The other four NEWater plants are located at Bedok, Kranji, Ulu Pandan and Changi.

Located on the rooftop of Changi Water Reclamation Plant, the new plant has a capacity of 228,000 cubic meters or 50 million gallons a day, among the biggest NEWater plants in terms of capacity. It spans 49,000m2 – the equivalent of nearly seven-and-a-half football fields – and was built with a total capital cost of about $170 million.

Mr Masagos noted Singapore’s "increasing reliance on non-traditional and more expensive sources” of water, such as the three desalination plants to be completed by 2020.

Water costs are being driven up by the rising costs of asset maintenance and replacement, as well as resources like energy, chemicals, materials and manpower. Expensive methods like pipe-jacking and tunneling would also be needed, given the laying and replacing of Singapore's pipelines in an increasingly urbanised landscape.

To overcome this, long-term breakthroughs are needed but these would take time to be proven and become deployable, said Mr Masagos. Water prices have always reflected the costs of water for consumers to appreciate its value, and adjustments in water charges would be made "when necessary”, he added.

Going forward, Singapore needs to continue to manage the water demand. "We must press on with water conservation and efficiency, both in our daily personal usage and in the non-domestic sector. Every drop of water conserved means less resources and costs needed to invest in additional supply," Mr Masagos said.

In partnership with PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, the latest NEWater plant is the first built by a foreign-local consortium, comprising BEWG International, a subsidiary of Beijing Enterprises Water Group Limited, and UES Holdings. It began operations in November last year.

The contract for the new plant was awarded in 2014 as a public-private partnership initiative. It is one of six Design-Build-Own-Operate projects between PUB and the private sector. Previous projects include the SingSpring Desalination Plant, Tuaspring Desalination Plant, Keppel-Seghers Ulu Pandan NEWater Plant, SembCorp NEWater Plant, and the recently-announced desalination plant that will be built in Marina East.

The launch was attended by 200 guests from government agencies, business associates, and industry players.

NEWater able to meet 40% of Singapore's water needs with opening of fifth plant
Nur Afifah Ariffin Channel NewsAsia 18 Jan 17;

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."

- CNA/gs

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