Singapore’s Water Solutions

If there is such a thing as a Singapuraphile then I consider myself as one.

Their simple and yet effective solutions to problems that brings other nations to their knees never fails to amaze me.

Lets take the water issue as an example.

Not too long ago the small island state was confronted with the question: “With no natural aquifers or an abundance of land providing a sustainable supply of water” where to get water to supply the country?

Add to this dilemma are the seasonal droughts, floods and pollution. All of these challenged the island state as it aimed to progress and advance the life of its citizens.

Decades later, the young state has grown stronger and confident. It now showcase the secret (in modern multi functional park and museum called Marina barrage) of how they solved the water supply problem and how they plan to be completely independent from buying water from their neighbor.

The solutions was so simple that even a child could understand how it is being carried out.

First, they collect rain. This is referred to as “Local Catchment Water”. Networks of drains, channels, rivers, water ponds and reservoir collects waters. It then gets treated so it can be sent to homes.

Second, they entered in to extended agreement to import water. An agreement they entered in the 1960’s with Malaysia. The anticipation that this supply would end in the future is the driving force behind some of the most ingenious ideas in harvesting and reusing water in the world.

The third is what they call NEWater. Literally, “used water”, yes, that’s right, this includes water that drains out of their bathrooms! They plan to triple their efforts in this area that in the future it would answer 50% of their country’s needs.

The fourth and the last is desalinated water. Singapore has one of the biggest desalination plant in the world. It is projected that the water that comes from this process gives them 10% of their water needs.

The traveler on top the structure called "Marina Barrage" which was built across the Marina Channel. The Barrage "provides water supply, flood control and a new lifestyle attraction". Marina Sands Bay, The Singapore Flyer and the skyscrapres of Suntec can be seen in the background. Photo taken February 2011.

Our government agencies should learn from these people.

Sometimes we Filipinos limit our options – either we don’t want to fail or we don’t want to succeed. With all our natural resources why did we ever had a water crisis last year?

Well, I should not be surprised – in a land where even repairing the sidewalks has become a herculean effort – what more can we expect…

We’ll just have to wait some more before we hear the end of those angry shouts…



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