Rain brings welcome respite to water woes

Rain brings welcome respite to water woes
The contrasting water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on Feb 5 (left) and last Friday(right). After six days of rain, PUB is "progressively" reducing production at the desalination and Newater plants.

SINGAPORE - With six days of rain easing water woes caused by two months of dry weather, national water agency PUB is beginning to wind down some of the measures it put in place to maintain the country's water supply.

It is "progressively" reducing production at the country's desalination and Newater plants, PUB assistant chief executive for operations Tan Yok Gin told The Straits Times.

These have been running at almost full capacity for more than a month to supply 55 per cent of Singapore's water.

The amount of Newater being pumped into Singapore's 17 reservoirs has also been reduced, he added, without citing figures.

The PUB had been injecting 35 million gallons of Newater every day to keep water levels healthy.

Water imported from Malaysia is the Republic's other source.

Still, the PUB is keeping an eye on the weather and will respond if dry weather returns, Mr Tan said.

Despite the respite for the previously parched greenery, the National Parks Board is looking further ahead - by taking steps to make plants more resilient.

A spokesman said it will gradually replace small trees that were unable to endure the dry weather with hardier species during its ongoing maintenance programme.

This is part of the board's efforts to ensure that greenery can cope with "increasingly unpredictable weather conditions".

Drought-tolerant species that have already been introduced, such as the yellow flame, common kelat and sea gutta, held up well, the spokesman said.

She added that the dried lawns at the Botanic Gardens are expected to recover, and the lakes there are likely to gradually fill up with rainwater.

On Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also posted a before- and-after picture of the Istana lawns on Facebook, showing how the previously brown grass is now a healthy green.

"What a difference a few days of rain make," he wrote.

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