"However, the extraction of groundwater will only be carried out if the risks of groundwater extraction can be adequately managed with no impact on existing buildings and infrastructure, which will be verified by the groundwater models to be developed through this work." he added.

Despite its small size, Singapore's geology is thought to be complex, spanning rocks hundreds of millions of years in age to more recent soils and sediments.

At the surface, the Bukit Timah Granite is seen in the central and northern regions, sedimentary rocks of the Jurong Formation are seen in the western and southern regions, and old alluvium is seen in the eastern region.

Based on knowledge of other rock formations worldwide, and from observations made during engineering work , it may be possible that the Jurong Formation could host a deep, confined aquifer which could be less prone to surface pollution or subsidence.

Singapore's geological setting indicates that there are other groundwater prospects, each with their specific advantages and challenges. This includes unconfined aquifers in the Old Alluvium, fractured rock in the Bukit Timah Granite, and confined aquifers in other rock formations of Singapore.

Besides Singapore's main is land, PUB has embarked on a study to verify the feasibility of extracting groundwater from reclaimed land in Jurong Island.

The R& D project entails assessing the potential yield and quality of groundwater, and the necessary groundwater management measures to prevent any land subsidence due to groundwater extraction. The project has been awarded and has commenced in April 2013.

PUB is in the midst of finalising the appoint ment of an international Expert Panel on Hydrogeology to give guidance and direction on its underground water exploration endeavours.

"This is Singapore's first foray in the search for deep aquifers . Besides exte nsive examination of our underground geology, we also want to learn from and tap on the expertise of overseas experts who have vast experience studying and carrying out groundwater exploration work in other countries," said Mr Seah.

The Expert Panel will convene at least once a year to discuss and provide advice on the two groundwater projects and any other related matters on hydrogeology.

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