After Marina Barrage, Tekong-Ubin reservoir

Letter from Syu Ying Kwok, Straits Times Forum 18 Apr 08;

WITH the Marina Barrage near completion, this new reservoir will help to provide Singapore with enough water for the next few years. But for true water independence, Singapore must continue to look for new water sources for the next few decades, especially before 2061 when the water agreement between Singapore and Malaysia expires.

Singapore's north-east region is flanked by two large islands - Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. Singapore should consider building three barrages to enclose one of the potentially largest reservoirs in Singapore - connecting Singapore to Pulau Ubin, Pulau Ubin to Pulau Tekong and Pulau Tekong to Singapore. If we can do this, the volume of this new body of water will be at least twice that of MacRitchie, Lower Peirce, Seletar and the new Marina reservoirs combined.

With these barrages in place, the growth and importance of both Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong will take a leap forward. Many important functions can be moved from the main island to these smaller ones, relieving much precious land resource.

Best of all, national servicemen will be able to go home faster from their training camp if a barrage is built between Pulau Tekong and the main island. The value of the coastal area around this reservoir will increase as recreational activities prolific in this largest fresh-water body in Singapore.

With dramatic changes in global weather recently, there is a new urgency to secure and store fresh-water supplies. Even though the cost of processed Newater has come down dramatically, the opportunity to create a new reservoir is still important as a fresh-water reservoir is still the cheapest source of supply. Flood control - in view of future rising water levels caused by global warming - will also be addressed with these new barrages: They will be able to protect a significant part of the coast.

As Singapore grows, we need to continue our relentless search for new water sources - and do it quickly. In the new Marina Reservoir, salinity is lower as a larger portion consists of fresh water from the river. Thus, even if we can enclose this new Tekong-Ubin reservoir, we are basically closing off a body of pure sea water and it may take decades before it becomes the more useable fresh water.

Related links

What's wrong with an Ubin-Tekong reservoir?

find out on the Pulau Ubin Stories blog

Dam idea for Tekong-Ubin reservoir more thoughts on the wildfilms blog