Adequate water supply a result of Govt's foresight

MacRitchie Reservoir.

The current prolonged dry spell, which has also badly affected some states in Malaysia, brought about quite dissimilar reactions on either side of the Causeway ("S'pore experiencing record dry spell - and it could get worse"; Tuesday).

National water agency PUB has been pumping massive amounts of Newater into our reservoirs to maintain water levels.

Thus, Singaporeans can go about their daily activities without worrying that their water supply may be cut off due to dangerously low water levels at our reservoirs.

But some Malaysian states have had to ration water ("Selangor to ration water; other states may follow suit"; Tuesday).

Thousands wait for water trucks to arrive with the precious commodity, which is sufficient for only cooking, drinking and, possibly, washing.

In 1998, the Singapore Government understood the critical need to act decisively to ensure Singaporeans will have an adequate supply of potable and non-potable water in the event of long droughts or other emergencies.

At the same time, some top Malaysian politicians threatened to cut off the raw water supply to Singapore when it suited their political agendas.

Our initial forays into Newater met with derision and even contempt from some Singaporeans. PUB had its work cut out to educate the public that Newater was safe to drink.

Currently, the four Newater plants and two desalination plants, which turn seawater into potable water, have allowed Singapore to obtain water using non-traditional methods.

Both initiatives, which involved huge capital outlays, were carried out only after years of meticulous study into their viability.

With hindsight, Singaporeans can take comfort in the fact that the Government had the determination, wherewithal and foresight to continually seek long-term solutions to problems.

Ho Kong Loon

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