Pandering to public perceptions can often lead to expensive and somewhat absurd decisions. Take the case of indirect potable reuse of water. Is it not a waste to purify wastewater to such advanced levels, blend it with water of lower purity and then let it get treated all over again at drinking water treatment plants to supposedly make it fit for drinking? Or to take tertiary treated effluent and make it recharge groundwater through layers of soil pulling in contaminants all over again? Continue reading
As the first Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) drew to a close on June 27 this year, it was clear that the country’s efforts to position itself as the hydro-hub of the world were paying off. Singapore has always been a favourite stop for water practitioners around the region, who come to marvel at the desalination and water reuse facilities. With SIWW slated to take place every year, this trend is only going to gain further impetus. Continue reading
As a thick haze settled on Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand in October 2006, air quality plummeted to unhealthy levels and residents suffered from respiratory problems and eye infections. Outdoor activities had to be curtailed and most people stayed indoors. Air traffic and tourism were affected. Uncontrolled burning from “slash and burn” cultivation in Indonesia raised enormous amounts of smoke which was spread by the wind to neighbouring countries. Angry residents inundated newspapers with letters and asked how long this would go on. With visibility less than half a kilometre, the skylines of cities like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur looked ghostly. Continue reading
On a pleasant morning by the river, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined plans to transform the waterways of the island nation. The country has made news in the past for its advancements in water reclamation and desalination. NEWater has become a brand name associated with Singapore. In what is considered a ringing endorsement of Singapore’s policies, drought-ridden Australia is planning to follow the NEWater model to produce drinking water for its citizens.
What’s new this time is Singapore’s plan to turn utilitarian infrastructural assets such as drains, canals and reservoirs into beautiful and clean streams, rivers and lakes that are open for the public to enjoy. Until now, many of the country’s 14 reservoirs were protected areas and bore signs such as “No Fishing” and water sports were unheard-of. “Now, we will bring people closer to water so that they will enjoy and cherish it more,” said Mr Lee. Continue reading