28 June 2018
SINGAPORE: Singapore on Thursday (Jun 28) opened its third desalination plant, boosting the country’s desalination capacity from 100 to 130 million gallons a day (mgd).
The Tuas Desalination Plant, which can produce 30 million gallons of drinking water a day, will help to meet up to 30 per cent of Singapore’s current water demand.
Spanning just 3.5ha - the size of three rugby fields - Tuas Desalination Plant is the country’s smallest plant to date.
Despite its size, the plant can produce the same amount of drinking water as SingSpring Desalination Plant, Singapore’s first such plant.
SingSpring occupies 6.3ha, nearly double the footprint of Tuas Desalination Plant. Advertisement
Both plants can produce up to 30mgd of drinking water, which is enough to supply to 200,000 households.
The first to be owned and operated by PUB, the Tuas plant will also be used to test new energy-saving technologies.
[The other desalination plant tactfully not mentioned in this report is Hyflux Tuaspring, with a capacity of 70 mgd. So with the Tuas Desalination plant, and SingSpring with 30 mgd each, total desalination capacity = 130 mgd.]
The plant is also the first in Singapore to adopt an advanced pre-treatment technology, which combines two existing filtration methods – dissolved air floatation and ultrafiltration.
This will help to reduce membrane fouling when treating seawater of varying water quality, as well as to prolong the lifespan of a membrane.
To reduce the plant's carbon footprint, a 1.2MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system will be installed on more than half of the plant’s roof surface by the end of the year.
Covering more than 7,000 sq m, the solar PV system will be able to generate 1.4 million kWh of clean energy a year, which will be used to power the plant’s administrative building.
With Singapore’s water demand projected to double from the current 430mgd by 2060, two more desalination plants are in the pipeline.
Slated to be completed in 2020, Marina East Desalination Plant and a fifth desalination plant at Jurong Island will bring the total daily water production in Singapore to 190 mgd in two years’ time.
INVESTMENTS IN WATER NETWORK "HEAVY BUT NECESSARY": MASAGOS
Speaking at the opening of the plant, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli pointed out the need for Singapore to continually expand and enhance its water supply network.
He cited examples of cities like Cape Town in South Africa and Sao Paulo in Brazil. In Sao Paulo, a severe drought had caused the stock level of its main reservoir fall below 4 per cent, and its 21 million inhabitants had at one point less than 20 days of water.
“We are laying more pipes to reach the population and industries in new growth nodes while maintaining and renewing existing water infrastructure,” said Mr Masagos.
He added that all these are “heavy, but necessary investments”, and take time. These investments must also be made ahead of time and demand, so Singaporeans will not face the same problems as Sao Paulo and Cape Town, the minister said.
“This is made possible by right-pricing water to reflect the long-run marginal cost of producing our next drop of water, which is likely to come from NEWater and desalinated water.”
[So as at mid-2018, Desalination contributes 130 mgd (30 + 70 + 30).
NEWater provides up to 170 mgd (see below - 30 + 30 +30 +30 + 50).
Total = 300 mgd from water "generation" plants.
Imported water = 250 mgd.
That means we have 550, which is more than what we need.
Local Catchment, say 200 mgd, would be a reserve.
By 2020, Desalination will provide 190 mgd. If there is a 6th NEWater plant with 30 mgd capacity, total NEWater will be 200 mgd, and we would be close to self-sufficiency in water (390 mgd out of 450 approx).]
[So about 170 mgd. If the latest NEWater plant contributes 50 mgd, then the other 4 produces on average 30 mgd.]
Singapore launches fifth Newater plant at Changi, boosting water supply
Jan 18, 2017
SINGAPORE - The Republic's supply of water was given a boost with the launch of a fifth Newater plant at Changi on Wednesday (Jan 18), which is also the first to be jointly developed by a foreign and local company.
The $170 million plant is able to produce 50 million gallons of Newater a day and will supply the PUB water for 25 years.
The plant, which spans 49,000 sq m or 7.5 football fields, produces enough water to fill 92 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Already in operation, it increases Singapore's Newater capacity from 30 to 40 per cent of the Republic's water demand of 430 million gallons per day.
The BEWG-UESH Newater Plant was jointly developed by Chinese consortium BEWG International, local company UES Holdings and national water agency PUB.
The involvement of the Chinese firm further diversifies the range of companies the PUB works with for such projects.
"From the industry development point of view, the more players we have, the better it is as an ecosystem...it is healthy competition that is good for the industry," PUB spokesman, Mr George Madhavan, said.
Mr Ng Joo Hee, PUB's chief executive, said water reuse is particularly attractive because it is a drought-resistant source of water.
"Every Singaporean grade schooler is taught the hydrologic cycle and knows how Mother Nature reclaims and recycles water in all its forms. What we do in PUB's water reclamation and Newater plants is, in essence, copying nature's way."
The four other Newater plants are located at Bedok, Kranji, Ulu Pandan and Changi.
At each of the Newater plant, water first goes through microfiltration where membranes filter out larger particles. The filtered water - containing dissolved salts and organic molecules - is then put through the reverse osmosis process where a semi-permeable removes the tiny molecules that remain.
At the next stage, it is further disinfected using ultraviolet light as an added safety measure to kill any organisms that might remain.
PUB's goal is to have desalination and Newater capacities meet up to 85 per cent of Singapore's water needs by 2060.
At present around half of the Republic's water needs is met by imported water from Malaysia, with the rest met by Newater, desalinated water - which is treated seawater - and water from the reservoirs.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said even as the Republic celebrates the launch of another Newater plant, it needs to be mindful that Singapore continues to face challenges in water supply.
The water level at Linggiu Reservoir, which regulates the flow of water in Johor River, has fallen from 80 per cent in early 2015 to 27 per cent today. He stressed the need to use water prudently.
"We must press on with water conservation and efficiency, both in our daily personal usage and in non-domestic sector," he said.
"Every drop of water conserved means less resources and costs needed to invest in additional supply."