Best of our wild blogs: 20 Dec 13

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for Singapore?
from Hopping Around

Crocodiles in Singapore’s Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
from Bird Ecology Study Group

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PUB calls for proposal to build second NEWater plant at Changi

Channel NewsAsia 20 Dec 13;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB is inviting local and international companies to submit proposals for the construction of the second NEWater plant at Changi.

To be completed by 2016, it will add another 50 million Imperial gallons (mgd) or 228,000 cubic metres of NEWater a day to Singapore's water supply.

Like the first Changi NEWater plant, the second will also be constructed under a Design, Build, Own and Operate (DBOO) arrangement and utilise the same proven NEWater process developed by PUB.

PUB says the plant's main process facilities will be built mostly on the rooftop of the Changi Water Reclamation Plant.

This saves on land and the cost of laying pipes to convey the treated used water from the water reclamation plant to the NEWater plant.

One of the pillars of Singapore's water sustainability, NEWater is ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water that is produced using advanced membrane technologies.

NEWater currently meets 30 per cent of Singapore's water demand, and this is set to increase to up to 55 per cent in the longer term.

Koh Boon Aik, PUB's director of best sourcing, said: "Increasing NEWater capacity is necessary to meet the growing water demand and strengthen the resilience of Singapore's water supply.

"NEWater is used primarily by the non-domestic sector for non-potable use as well as topping up local reservoirs during dry weather."

The successful bidder will have a 25-year NEWater agreement to supply NEWater to PUB, from 2016.

The NEWater agreement will set out the tariff structure, terms and conditions for the supply and purchase of NEWater.

Mr Koh added: "We have been adopting the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to expand our water supply system in a cost-competitive manner since 2005.

"These projects have been highly successful, ensuring a high quality and reliable water supply at the most cost-effective manner as they tap on private sector's expertise as well as their capacity and flexibility to innovate.

"Through participating in these PPP projects, water companies can also gain experience, build up their track record, and they can eventually export the expertise they gain from the project internationally."

The second NEWater plant at Changi is PUB's fifth DBOO project. Previous DBOO projects include the 30mgd SingSpring Desalination Plant, 32mgd Keppel-Seghers Ulu Pandan NEWater Plant, 50mgd SembCorp Changi NEWater Plant, and more recently, the 70mgd Tuaspring Desalination Plant.

- CNA/al

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Philippines: ‘No-build’ zones marked in ‘Yolanda’-hit areas

DJ Yap Philippine Daily Inquirer 20 Dec 13;

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has finished marking “no-build zones” on the coasts of Eastern Visayas that were ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” to pave the way for the construction of “green walls” of mangroves and beach forest to protect against coming storms.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the 40-meter no-build zones from the coasts covered approximately 100 kilometers in Samar and Leyte provinces, although not all the areas would be subject to the restriction.

“There are areas where growing mangroves and beach forest is not applicable… there are places where infrastructure is more applicable, meaning dikes and breakwaters,” Paje told reporters.

Infrastructure measure

“If the applicable measure is infra (infrastructure), then we’ll apply infra. When a green measure is more applicable, then we’ll use beach forest and mangroves. There’s no hard and fast rule because there are places where mangroves don’t grow,” he said.

Paje said the rebuilding should focus on better, more resilient construction.

“It means new houses in better places, more resilient construction. No more nipa huts and shanties,” he said.

“At the very least, the houses should be able to withstand storm speeds of 200 kilometers per hour,” he added.

The government has earmarked almost P350 million for a massive coastal rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas, particularly Leyte and its capital city, Tacloban.

Restore coastal forests

The objective is to restore the region’s degraded coastal forests and make its coastlines less vulnerable to extreme weather events.

Under Presidential Decree No. 1067, or the Philippine Water Code, “banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage.”

“Had the mangroves in Leyte and Eastern Samar not been decimated, the storm surge in those areas would have been dissipated by 70 to 80 percent of their strength,” said Paje, citing a study by the Department of Science and Technology.

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