PUB to call tender for 4th desalination plant today

SINGAPORE'S fourth desalination plant, which is set to be completed in 2019, will be the first to treat both fresh and seawater.

When operational, the plant will meet the water needs of the central and eastern parts of the island.

National water agency PUB will call for a tender today for the construction of the plant in Marina East, which will be able to produce up to 30 million gallons of fresh drinking water a day.

PUB said in a press release yesterday that the successful bidder will design, build, own and operate the desalination plant.

The building of the fourth plant is part of the Government's plan to expand its desalination and Newater capacities to meet up to 85 per cent of Singapore's water needs by 2060.

Associate Professor Darren Sun from the Nanyang Technological University's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said that in the light of climate change, water sustainability is a major concern for Singapore.

"We need to build resilience to combat climate change in long periods without rain," he added.

"The versatile plant will enable us to continuously produce high-quality water from both seawater and freshwater from the marina catchment, while maintaining healthy water levels in the reservoirs."

Singapore currently has two desalination plants. Both are in Tuas and together can produce a total of 100 million gallons of water a day.

The construction of a third plant in Tuas is expected to be completed next year. This will add another 30 million gallons of water a day to Singapore's supply.

William Yeo, PUB's director of policy and planning, said: "Like Newater, desalinated water is independent of rainfall and can be used to supplement our other water sources during dry weather."

During the debate on the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources' budget on Tuesday, Minister Masagos Zulkifli said he was worried about the challenge that extreme weather patterns stemming from climate change could pose to water sustainability.

Water levels in the Linggiu reservoir, which helps to supply half of Singapore's water needs, fell to a new historic low of 36.9 per cent on Tuesday.

Singapore's current water demand stands at about 430 million gallons of water per day. This could more than double by 2060, with non-domestic demand estimated to make up 70 per cent of overall water use.

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