Dry weather may continue but 'we will be all right for water'

A room detailing Singapore's water history since 1972, at the newly-renovated NEWater Visitor Centre.

SINGAPORE - Despite the prolonged spell of dry weather, Singapore has no plans to introduce water rationing, thanks to Newater and desalination.

The dry weather may continue for two or three more weeks, or even longer, but "no matter how long this goes on..., we will be all right", Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said on Friday.

Singapore's investments in desalination and Newater plants are paying off. Together, the two water sources can meet 55 per cent of the demand regardless of the amount of rainfall.

This gives Singapore "a safety margin which we are tapping," the minister said, adding that we did not have such a margin just 10 years ago.

And because of this, he does not see a need for water rationing now. He also ruled out cloud-seeding for now as it is ineffective.

Intake from Singapore's reservoirs and imported water from Malaysia make up the remaining 45 per cent of water demand.

Singapore has had very little rain in the past month and a half.

And the need to conserve water remains important, the minister said, with consumption having gone up by 15 million gallons a day.

The immediate plan is to reduce this. Town councils, residents and landscaping companies are being told to save water.

PUB, the national water agency, is issuing water saving advisories to 25,000 businesses and heavy water users, The Straits Times reported.

"We do need to conserve water and to understand that the good fortune that we have now has not come cheaply, has not come easily," Dr Balakrishnan said.

"You only need to look at the region to understand that people (there) are suffering and are having to confront this brutal reality (of water shortage). It is a good reminder for us that we need to prepare well in advance."

He added: "If we all do our part, there will be no disruption to our lives."

Get The New Paper for more stories.