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5 - Ensuring Water Sustainability: The Supply Side

from PART III - CLOSING THE WATER LOOP

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2015

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Summary

The smooth progress of NEWater, the construction of our first desalination plant at Tuas and the enlargement of our local catchments through projects such as the Marina Barrage have certainly strengthened our water supply for the long term. However, this does not mean that our water challenge is now over and that we can relax and become complacent. On the contrary, it is important that we press on with our efforts in making sure that every drop, every dollar and every idea will always count. This is the best and only way forward for us to ensure that Singapore will stay on the right side of the global water divide, today, tomorrow and well into the future.

Minister Lim Swee Say, Minister for the Environment, at the official opening of Seletar NEWater Plant on 18 June 2004

Singapore suffered one of its worst droughts in 1963, when water stocks dropped to dangerously low levels. Water rationing was introduced in April 1963 and was only lifted ten months later in February 1964, with the return of heavy rainfall. What started off as zone rationing for six hours a day, four times a week, was soon extended to islandwide rationing for twelve hours a day, three times a week. It was a painful episode. Singaporeans had to be conscious of when the rationing periods were, and wake up early or stay up late to store the water they needed. Otherwise, they would have to collect their water from public stand pipes during rationing hours. The usual routines were disrupted and the cost of food went up.

During this period, with the dissolution of the City Council, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) was established in May 1963 as a statutory board to coordinate the supply of water, electricity, and piped gas. With regard to water, PUB was charged with improving and expanding the available water assets to keep pace with population expansion and industrial development. To the fledgling PUB, the drought of 1963 left deep and indelible impressions among its officers which remain to this day.

Type
Chapter
Information
Clean, Green and Blue
Singapore's Journey Towards Environmental and Water Sustainability
, pp. 125 - 160
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2008

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