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4th desalination plant for S’pore

SINGAPORE — The Republic will build a fourth desalination plant in Marina East to help meet the demand for water in the city area as prolonged dry spells tighten the island’s water supply.

4th desalination plant for S’pore

Opened in 2015, Singapore's first desalination plant, SingSpring, can produce 30 million gallons of freshwater daily. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The Republic will build a fourth desalination plant in Marina East to help meet the demand for water in the city area as prolonged dry spells tighten the island’s water supply.

The new plant will have the capacity to produce 30 million imperial gallons of freshwater per day (mgd) from sea water, the PUB said today (Sept 3), adding that it will call a tender for the provision of professional engineering services for the project.

The announcement comes just six months after Singapore unveiled plans to build a third desalination plant in Tuas, due to be completed in 2017. The fourth desalination plant will be completed in four to five years, said the PUB.

Located near water demand zones in the city and eastern Singapore, the Marina East desalination plant will also have the capability to treat freshwater from Marina Reservoir, the national water agency said.

“PUB has been making investments to build up and diversify our water supply sources in order to strengthen our water security,” said Mr Chua Soon Guan, Deputy Chief Executive of PUB. “Building up weather-resilient water sources will help us be better prepared for possible prolonged period of dry spells in the future.”

Once the third and the fourth plants are completed, Singapore will be able to produce up to 160 million gallons of freshwater per day from sea water.

Desalinated water, or treated sea water, now meets up to a quarter of current water demand, which is about 400 million gallons of water a day. This could almost double by the year 2060.

During the Committee of Supply debate for his ministry in March, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan told the House that beyond the third desalination plant in Tuas, the Government is planning for more plants sited in other parts of Singapore, to be announced in due time.

Singapore’s second desalination plant, the S$1.05-billion Tuaspring – which is the largest seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant in Asia with a daily capacity of 70 million gallons – started running two years ago. The first, the SingSpring desalination plant which can produce 30 million gallons of freshwater per day, began operations in 2005.

Singapore also uses NEWater, or treated used water, as well as treated rainwater and water imported from Malaysia. The agreement with Malaysia will expire in 2061.

Last month, PUB agreed to Johor authorities’ request for Singapore to supply more potable water to the state in light of the dry weather afflicting the state’s water supply. Water-rationing was implemented in parts of the city starting last Sunday and lasting till Sept 15, after the dry weather severely affected water levels in the state’s Sungei Layang dam. Since Aug 14, PUB has been drawn an additional 5 to 6 million gallons per day of potable water from the Johor River Waterworks it operates at the Kota Tinggi district to supply to Johor Baru.

Before that, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan had cautioned that with the water levels of Linggiu Reservoir — which enables Singapore to reliably draw water from the Johor River — at a historic low, the public should save water, and restrictions could kick in if the situation worsens.

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