Why is S'pore still struggling with the water issue?

Various ministers have described the water issue as "existential" and one concerning "national security", and stressed the need to make Singaporeans feel the full price of our water scarcity.

What I don't understand is why, in this age of technological breakthroughs, First World Singapore is struggling to produce enough water for its population.

If Israel, one of the world's driest countries, can produce a water surplus for its population of eight million using desalination, why can't Singapore, a country surrounded by the sea, do it as well?

If water is indeed a "national security" and "existential" issue for us, wouldn't it be logical to assume that the Government would make it a top priority by pouring resources into building more desalination plants in order to be self-sufficient, no matter the cost?

Like Israel, we would have produced a surplus too by now, through desalination, instead of relying on the supply from reservoirs or Newater.

If we have the wherewithal to resolve the national security threat posed by water, I don't understand why we have been dragging our feet all these years on something which other countries have dealt with so successfully.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'Why is S'pore still struggling with the water issue?'. Print Edition | Subscribe