U.S. Water News Online
SINGAPORE -- Water-scarce Singapore has begun pumping water
reclaimed from sewage and sewers into its public water system in a
bid to reduce its dependence on neighboring Malaysia for its water
Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who launched the event by
turning on a symbolic giant tap at a water reclamation plant in the
eastern part of the city-state, said that by attaining
self-sufficiency in water supply, Singapore will not have to renew
its agreements with Malaysia for the supply of water.
Singapore currently depends heavily on Malaysia for its water
supply through two agreements signed with Malaysia in 1961 and 1962,
which will expire in 2011 and 2061, respectively.
''In this way, by 2011, when the 1961 Water Agreement expires, we
will not need to renew it,'' he said.
''By 2061 when the 1962 Agreement expires, we can be totally
self-sufficient, if there is no new water agreement with Malaysia.''
Goh said reducing the reliance on Malaysia ''will take the
sensitive issue of water out of the equation of bilateral relations''
to enable the two countries to ''focus on mutually beneficial
Ties between Singapore and Malaysia have been tense in recent
months due to disputes over various issues, including the price and
future supply of raw water that Malaysia has been selling to
Singapore is adopting the indirect approach for NEWater as a
source of drinking water by mixing it with reservoir waters.
It has started introducing two million gallons per day of NEWater
into reservoirs, which is slightly less than one percent of the
amount of water that Singapore consumes daily.
It plans to increase the amount progressively to 10 million
gallons per day by 2011 -- about 2.5 percent of the city-state's
Most of the reclaimed water is being piped directly for
non-potable purposes such as in wafer fabrication industries and for
air conditioner cooling.
Singapore plans to have a total of four water reclamation plants.
Reclaimed water is cheaper than desalinated water. It also awarded a
tender earlier this year for a desalination plant.
The government has weaned Singaporeans to NEWater through a public
awareness campaign over the last six months by distributing 1.5
million bottles NEWater free to the public.
An independent poll by Forbes Research in October 2002 showed an
overwhelming level of NEWater acceptance among Singaporeans, with 82
percent indicating that they were prepared to drink it directly,
while 16 percent were prepared to drink it indirectly through mixing
with reservoir water.
However, some suppliers of bottled imported water have also
reporting brisk sales apparently from Singaporeans who are squeamish
about drinking reclaimed water.
One supplier of bottled water imported from Malaysia started to
hold roadshows at shopping malls recently to sell its South
Korean-made water dispenser and Malaysian-produced bottled distilled
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