Water-sufficiency plan on track
Tue, Apr 27, 2010
my paper

By Low Wei Xiang

SINGAPORE will not renew one of the two water agreements with Malaysia that will expire next year.

Key developments scheduled for completion over the next few years will supplement Singapore's water supply, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said in Parliament yesterday.

The new reservoirs, a watertreatment plant and a desalination will ensure the country's thirst for water will be sufficiently met, he said.

New reservoirs in Marina, Punggol and Serangoon, when completed next year, will expand the water catchment from half to two thirds of Singapore's land area.

The three reservoirs will supply about 15 per cent of the country's water needs, taking the reservoir
count to 17.

A new $2.2-billion Newater plant in Changi will add 800,000 cu m to Singapore's daily water supply.

When ready later this year, the water-treatment facility, plus four existing plants, will double Newater capacity to cater to a third of the nation's water needs.

Work has also begun last on the country's second desalination plant that will make seawater potable.

Expected to take about 20 more months to complete, the Jurong Island plant will produce 182,000 cu m of water daily for factories in the area.

The first desalination plant, located in Tuas and completed in 2005, meets about 10 per cent of Singapore's water needs.

"As the production of Newater and desalinated water is independent of rainfall, they can supplement local water stocks in an extended dry spell like the one experienced in February," said Dr Yaacob.

As it costs more to produce water from these newer sources, water tariffs will be reviewed to factor in the costs.

However, the Government will revise "particularly its impact on low-income households", he said.

The first water agreement, signed in 1961, allows Singapore to buy water from Malaysia at RM0.03 for every 1,000 gallons until next year.

In 1962, Singapore signed a second water agreement to buy more water from Malaysia at the same price. This agreement will expire in 2061, the year Singapore aims to be self-sufficient in water.

The country currently imports 40 per cent of its water from its neighbour under the two agreements.


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