Singapore’s second and largest seawater treatment plant opens

Woo Sian Boon Today Online 19 Sep 13;

SINGAPORE — A quarter of Singapore's water demand will now be met by desalinated water, with the opening of the Republic’s second and largest seawater treatment plant today (Sept 18).

The Tuaspring Desalination Plant was officially unveiled this evening by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, along with Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan and his Second Minister Grace Fu.

Situated on a 14-hectare site in Tuas, it will supply 70 million gallons of water per day – or 125 Olympic-sized pools worth of water – to Singapore’s water supply for 25 years. It is the second plant to be developed and operated by Singapore’s biggest listed water treatment company Hyflux.

Construction of the plant began in 2011. It also features an on-site combined cycle gas turbine power plant which will supply electricity to the desalination facility.

Desalinated water, or treated seawater, is one of Singapore’s four “national taps” – the other three are imported water from Malaysia, NEWater and water from the reservoirs. Singapore’s first desalination plant, Singspring Singapore, was opened in 2005 and supplies 30 million gallons of treated water a day to PUB, making up 10 per cent of Singapore’s total water supply. Singapore’s daily water demand is about 400 million gallons.

New desalination plant brings Singapore closer to self-sufficiency
Woo Sian Boon Today Online 19 Sep 13;

SINGAPORE — The Republic yesterday took a major stride towards becoming self-sufficient in water, with the opening of the second desalination plant here.

Sitting on a 14-ha site, Tuaspring Desalination Plant is the largest seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant in Asia. With the capacity to remove dissolved salts from seawater amounting to 70 million gallons daily — equivalent to the amount that can fill 125 Olympic-sized pools — it will triple the amount of water the country gets from desalination.

Desalinated water, or treated seawater, is one of Singapore’s four national taps. The three others are imported water from Malaysia, NEWater and water from the reservoirs.

The new S$1.05-billion facility — developed and operated by Singapore’s biggest listed water treatment company, Hyflux — will deliver desalinated water to national water agency PUB over a 25-year period. Hyflux’s first desalination plant Singspring was opened in 2005 and is also located in Tuas.

Currently, Singspring produces 10 per cent of Singapore’s daily water needs of 400 million gallons. NEWater meets another 30 per cent of the needs, with the remaining supply coming from imported water and local catchment.

Together, the two desalination plants will now be able to meet 25 per cent of water needs.

At the opening ceremony — which was attended by 800 guests, including foreign dignitaries, government officials and industry representatives — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that Singapore was “almost totally dependent” on water supply from Johor when it achieved independence in 1965. Singaporeans lined up at public taps for water, employed night-soil collectors because homes lacked sanitation, he recounted. But the Republic has since turned a “strategic weakness” into “a source of thought leadership and competitive advantage”, he added.

This was achieved through political leadership, partnerships with various stakeholders and the work of the PUB, said Mr Lee.

For example, political decisions were made to enlarge Singapore’s water catchments, upgrade infrastructure and build a deep sewerage system. The Government also engaged the industry in public-private partnerships to explore and pilot new technologies and develop water infrastructure.

To secure the country’s water resources, the PUB expanded the reservoirs, built new ones, developed technologies to collect rainwater from urban catchments and promoted research and development to develop new sources of water such as NEWater, Mr Lee said.

He said: “We must continue to work together to secure our future needs for water. This is not an inexhaustible gift of nature, but a precious resource which we must husband and use wisely.”

Mr Lee also singled out the Government’s “difficult political decision” to price water “properly”, in a way that got Singaporeans to take water conservation seriously and minimise wastage and abuse.

At the same time, the authorities defray low-income households’ utility bills “so that nobody is unable to not afford the water which they need”, he added.

At Tuaspring, seawater is taken into the plant and goes through a two-stage reverse-osmosis treatment process — where impurities and salts are filtered out by ultra-fine semi-permeable membranes that can remove particles of up to 0.01 microns in size.

Because of a combination of factors, such as an on-site power plant and better technology, treated water from Tuaspring will be priced at 45 cents per cubic metre for the first year — lower than the price of 78 cents per cubic metre during SingSpring’s first-year of operation.

Under a tiered tariff structure that charges heavy users of water a higher rate, the PUB prices drinking water not only to recover the full cost of its production and supply but to reflect its scarcity value.

With water demand set to double by 2060, the desalination capacity will be increased in tandem.

By 2060, NEWater and desalinated water will meet up to 80 per cent of water demand.

Singapore’s existing bilateral agreement to import water from Johor will expire in 2061.

An earlier agreement had expired in August 2011, which saw PUB handing over the Gunong Pulai Waterworks to Johor State Government.

Tuaspring opens – latest milestone in Singapore's water journey
Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 18 Sep 13;

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.

- CNA/gn

Tuaspring taps new technology to boost capacity and cut cost
Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 18 Sep 13;

SINGAPORE: The new Tuaspring Desalination Plant offers greater capacity at a lower cost by tapping new technologies.

Singapore's newest desalination plant has been two years in the making.

Water solutions firm Hyflux won the tender to build the Tuaspring plant in 2011, and it is using some of its latest technologies to make the plant more efficient at producing potable water from seawater that is fit for drinking.

Tuaspring boasts one of the world's largest installations of Hyflux's Kristal ® proprietary Ultrafiltration membranes, which are more effective at removing dissolved salts from seawater.

When seawater from the surrounding sea is passed through the membranes, virtually all bacteria is blocked out and impurities as small as 0.01 micron can also be filtered away.

The filtered water is consistently of high quality and this helps boost the performance and life span of membranes used in the next step of desalination -- the reverse osmosis process.

Hyflux’s Executive Chairman and Group CEO Olivia Lum elaborated: "The key advantage is that we are able to make it more efficient, make the whole plant more efficiently operated. At the same time, using ultrafiltration membrane as pre-treatment would allow us to bring down the costs of water produced.

“We have integrated a power plant and this power plant together with the desalination plant, side by side, will be able to bring down also the operating costs because most of these costs in producing seawater desalination are energy, so we put the energy power plant side by side. This will help also the operations to be more efficiently run."

To make it even more efficient, a power plant has been integrated into the design of the plant to provide electricity.

Any excess energy generated will be sold to the national grid. These measures have resulted in significant cost-savings.

The first-year price for the desalinated water to be delivered to PUB is 45 cents per cubic metre.

That is about 40 per cent cheaper than that of Singapore's first desalination plant, SingSpring, which was also built by Hyflux.

The first-year price of water for SingSpring Desalination Plant is S$0.78 per cubic metre.

PUB said this will not affect the price of water for households as other factors are also taken into consideration.

Desalination is an important supply of water for Singapore as the country has little land to collect and store rainwater.

Chief Executive of PUB Chew Men Leong said: "Desalination is an important and integral part of our four national taps. It will actually enhance our water security and actually enable us to achieve greater resilience against weather uncertainties, especially prolonged drought situations.

“The opportunity for us here through the public private partnership working with industry here, Hyflux has enabled us to tap on the innovation and efficiency of the private sector. Hyflux optimises the technology configuration, thereby giving us competitive pricing (and) with that we are able to expand our supply of water, enhance our water security, and at the same time, keep a lid on the rising pressures of cost.”

The government intends to ramp up production capacity by 2060 so that desalinated water can meet up to 25 per cent of total water demand in the long term.

The other sources of water are local catchment water; imported water from Malaysia; and reclaimed water known as NEWater.

- CNA/gn

Another milestone as second desalination plant opens
Grace Chua Straits Times 19 Sep 13;

SINGAPORE'S second and largest desalination plant was opened yesterday, more than tripling the nation's capacity to turn seawater into fresh water to meet up to a quarter of its total demand.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who opened the Tuaspring Desalination Plant at Singapore's far south-western edge, called it the latest milestone in the city state's decades-long water journey.

At its start, people queued for water and lacked basic sanitation, he noted.

But pricing water right, working with academia and industry to develop water infrastructure, and having national agency PUB manage the entire water cycle from supply to recycling, have given Singapore a clean, reliable supply of water.

"What was once our strategic weakness is now a source of thought leadership and competitive advantage," he added.

Singapore plans to extend a deep tunnel sewerage system to the west to reuse more of its wastewater, and to have Newater and desalination meet up to 70 per cent of demand by 2030.

Tuaspring, like its neighbour SingSpring, is designed, owned, built and operated by Singapore- listed water firm Hyflux.

It can supply up to 70 million gallons of water a day, while SingSpring, which opened in 2005, can supply up to 30 million.

Singapore uses 400 million gallons of water a day, but that could nearly double by 2060. By then, it aims to have Newater and desalination meet up to 80 per cent of demand.

Water agency PUB has a 25-year agreement to buy desalinated water from Tuaspring, starting at 45 cents a cubic metre for the first year.

The $1.05 billion Tuaspring also has an attached power plant fuelled by liquefied natural gas, to provide a secure energy supply for desalination operations.

This makes it the first water project here to be combined with energy generation.

This will ensure that "Tuaspring is not just self-sufficient in its energy requirements" but "also allows us to produce desalinated water at a competitive cost", said Hyflux executive chairman Olivia Lum.

With greater dependence on energy-intensive technologies like water reclamation and desalination, it raises the question of whether water prices will rise for the consumer.

Not necessarily, said PUB chief executive Chew Men Leong on the sidelines of a water utility leaders' conference organised by the agency.

Improvements in technology have lowered the costs of desalination and water reclamation, he said, while other energy-efficiency improvements mean that the reclaiming and de-salting of water use less energy than they used to.