PUB projects seek to save water, energy

Agency inks agreement with French firm on three projects

SINGAPORE will work on three projects over the next 21/2 years to find out how to better conserve water and energy, and manage rainfall.

National water agency PUB, which will spearhead the projects, yesterday signed an agreement with French waste and water management firm SUEZ environnement to work on them.

By the first half of next year, 1,200 smart meters will be installed in towns, possibly Tuas and Yuhua for instance, to track water usage patterns of households and industry.

For the first time, hourly data will be collected so PUB can better understand how much water people use throughout the day.

While the meters will not be able to tell what the water is used for, part of the project will involve developing software that can analyse the data to identify the uses.

This project will help PUB to craft more effective campaigns to get people to save water.

Another project, slated for the Marina catchment, Singapore's largest catchment, involves developing a user-friendly dashboard so PUB staff can have streamlined access to essential data from various platforms, such as rainfall radar, water level sensors, rain gauges and flow sensors. This can aid the officers' decisions on the operational measures to take during a storm.

A PUB spokesman said: "Currently, with an impending storm, the flood-monitoring team will obtain information from different platforms to assess the progress of the storm and the risks of flooding.

"With a customised dashboard, the various points of information can be integrated and presented in one single interface, and better facilitate staff decisions on ground operations."

Mr Steve Clark, chief executive of SUEZ environnement Asia, said the firm had installed similar systems in France and Spain.

"It has been tried and tested," he said.

The last project will take place over the next 1-1/2 years, and it is to develop an energy-neutral way to treat used water.

This means that the energy used and produced during the process will either add up to zero, or it could even produce net energy for use.

Carbon has to be removed from the used water. Currently, air is introduced into the water to break the carbon down into simpler substances. The new method is expected to capture the carbon instead, so less energy is needed to aerate the water. The carbon can also be turned into biogas, a fuel.

The project will also look into more efficient ways of removing ammonia from the used water.

PUB chief technology officer Harry Seah said the agency is always on the lookout for water solutions, and the best way forward is through collaborations.

"This one will also strengthen Singapore-France water industry relations," he added.

zengkun@sph.com.sg