The island city-state in the Malay Peninsula is using cutting-edge technology and innovative infrastructure to produce and recycle much of its water — turning its scarce water supplies into a strategic strength, AFP reported Monday.
A water purifying industry that uses membrane technology and reverse osmosis to recycle water on a massive scale is on the rise in Singapore, an island where the government has already transformed two-thirds of its landmass into urban storm water catchment areas.
A fifth reclamation plant opened today during International Water Week, an annual conference that takes place in Singapore. Designed to produce NEWater — Singapore’s own brand of reclaimed water — the facility will be able to recycle up to 176 million gallons a day. NEWater, which is essentially purified waste water, is expected to supply 30 percent of Singapore’s needs by next year.
With an area of just 700 square miles, the resource-starved country enjoys heavy rainfall, but lacks sufficient watersheds and natural rivers from which to draw water. With the new technology, Singapore hopes to ease its dependence on water imports, particularly from neighboring Malaysia, where piping water has been contentious since the two countries separated more than 40 years ago.
“Ever since we became independent in 1965, the issue of trying to manage our water in such a way that we can sustain our growth and development way into the future has been a top priority,” said Khoo Teng Chye, the chief of Singapore’s water agency.
As part of its water revolution, Singapore is transforming its concrete water infrastructure of reservoirs, canals and drains to resemble lakes, natural rivers and streams that can also host recreational activities.
With heavy investment underway, the government also hopes to turn the country into a center for water research.
”Singapore in a way has become a hub for water knowledge and water expertise in the region,” Khoo said. “The government wants to build on and enhance this hub as it sees that water, instead of being a strategic weakness, could possibly be a strategic strength for the country.”
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Source: Yahoo News
, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.