Last Thursday, I went on a fieldtrip to the Bedok NEWater Visitor Centre. A wave of memories flooded me as I had previously visited the NEWater Visitor Centre for primary school fieldtrips. Most Singaporeans, would know about NEWater. NEWater, one of our 4 national taps, has been Singapore’s pride and joy. The three other taps are imported water, local catchment and desalination. One may ask why Singapore requires 4 national taps despite our small size. This is so as to ensure that Singapore has a sustainable and secure water supply. Two of the taps, local catchment and imported water, rely heavily on the weather, hence the supply of water they provide is vulnerable. As seen from the dry spell earlier in the year, reservoir levels fell substantially and hence had to be filled up with NEWater. Moreover, Singapore’s water agreement with Malaysia expires in 2061 and should the agreement not be renewed, we would lose one of our 4 national taps.
Bedok NEWater Visitor Centre
Singapore’s 4 national taps
As such, desalination and NEWater have gradually come to the forefront. NEWater is the high grade water produced after treated used water has been further purified using a 3-step process involving advanced membrane technologies like Microfiltration, Reverse Osmosis, and the final disinfection of the product water using ultraviolet light (PUB, 2014). NEWater has yet to be used for domestic use as it is currently only used in industries. I foresee that we would rely so heavily on NEWater in the future that we would be drinking it directly from our taps. Public perception is extremely critical in ensuring that NEWater is a success. There has been constant effort made by PUB to raise public awareness and acceptance of NEWater. This is evident from the distribution of NEWater bottles in the National Day Parade Funpack to the building of the NEWater Visitor Centre. I feel that these efforts have paid off as I observe that most Singaporeans have no qualms about drinking NEWater. Efforts to educate future generations on NEWater should be continued so as to instil in young Singaporeans the importance of maintaining a sustainable water supply vital for our survival.
The 3-step process of NEWater
A sample of the Zeeweed 500 Microfiltration membrane
A sample of the GrahamTek Reverse Osmosis membrane
One habit which I personally should change so as to conserve water is to use a cup when brushing my teeth. I have always been using my hands to rinse my mouth instead of using a cup. Hence, I made a water pledge at the NEWater Visitor Centre to change this bad habit of mine. In Singapore, we have the privilege to conserve, value and enjoy water. Will we still have the same privilege in years to come? Make your very own water pledge right now and play your part in helping Singapore maintain her sustainable water supply!
A water pledge done by a student at the NEWater Visitor Centre
Till next time,
The Green Dot
Public Utilities Board (PUB). (2014) Plans for NEWater. [Online] Available from: http://www.pub.gov.sg/water/newater/plansfornewater/Pages/default.aspx. [Accessed: 22nd September 2014].