Keppel Infrastructure to design and build Singapore's fourth desalination plant

The Tuaspring Desalination Plant that was completed in 2013.
The Tuaspring Desalination Plant that was completed in 2013. PHOTO: HYFLUX

SINGAPORE - Keppel Infrastructure Holdings will design, build, own and operate Singapore's fourth desalination plant - the first with the ability to treat sea water and fresh water.

The fourth plant brings Singapore closer to its aim of meeting 85 per cent of its water needs through desalination and Newater by 2060, when the demand for water is expected to double. It will also help decrease the Republic's dependence on importing water from Malaysia for its drinking water needs.

Expected to be operational in 2020, the new desalination plant will be able to produce 137,000 cubic metres (about 30 million gallons) of fresh drinking water per day.

Located in Marina East, the plant will be able to treat sea water and fresh water from Marina Reservoir by using reverse osmosis and other advanced membrane technology.

Keppel was chosen as the preferred bidder for a concession period of 25 years by national water agency PUB, according to a statement released on Thursday.

The contract is estimated to be worth S$400-S$500 million, according to The Business Times.

Keppel Seghers will undertake the turnkey construction and commissioning of the project, and Keppel Infrastructure Services will operate the plant for 25 years, the release added.

"The Marina East Desalination Plant is an iconic project given its requirements of treating both reservoir and sea water," said Dr Ong Tiong Guan, chief executive officer of Keppel Infrastructure. "This project affirms Keppel Infrastructure's capabilities to create value and offer innovative and competitive solutions for environmental infrastructure essential for sustainable urbanisation."

Keppel Seghers also designed and built Singapore's fourth NEWater plant and fifth waste-to-energy plant, as well as the Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre and Doha North Sewage Treatment Works for the Government of Qatar. These facilities are now part of the portfolio operated by Keppel Infrastructure Services.

Besides water imported from Malaysia, Singapore diversifies its water sources across three other national taps - local reservoirs, Newater, which is treated wastewater, and desalination.

There are currently two desalination plants in Tuas, while a third will be completed next year. A fifth desalination plant is planned on the Jurong Island to enhance its resilience against climate change. Expected to be built around 2020, the plant will add 30 million gallons of water per day - or about 7 per cent of Singapore's current water demand of 430 million gallons a day.