Singapore in no danger of water shortage, but conserving water still important: Balakrishnan

With the Public Utilities Board (PUB) pumping more water into reservoirs in response to the lack of rain, Singapore is in no danger of water shortage in the near future. But people here still need to make careful use of water, said Environment and Wa
With the Public Utilities Board (PUB) pumping more water into reservoirs in response to the lack of rain, Singapore is in no danger of water shortage in the near future. But people here still need to make careful use of water, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. -- TNP FILE PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

With the Public Utilities Board (PUB) pumping more water into reservoirs in response to the lack of rain, Singapore is in no danger of water shortage in the near future. But people here still need to make careful use of water, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

The PUB has been running their desalination and NEWater plants at close to full capacity, said Mr Balakrishnan in a Facebook post on Thursday evening. Combined, Singapore's two desalination plants produce 100 million gallons per day (mgd) of water, which meets 25 per cent of the country's needs.

Over the last two weeks, the PUB has injected an additional 20 to 25 mgd of NEWater into the reservoirs. This is at least 36 Olympic-sized swimming pools' worth of water. The amount will be increased to about 30 mgd next week to keep water reserves in the reservoirs at "healthy levels".

"Fortunately, our major investments in NEWater and desalination over the years have diversified our sources of water supply and strengthened our water security," wrote Mr Balakrishnan.

"Although we can be confident of meeting our water needs, let us remember that every drop of water is precious. Do continue to practise good water-saving habits and avoid unnecessary consumption. We can make every drop count."

In his Facebook post, Mr Balakrishnan also posted pictures of a boardwalk in MacRitchie Reservoir. Usually submerged by water, the boardwalk is now "high and dry" he said, prompting people to ask him about the current dry spell and its implications on the country's water security.

Singapore has been experiencing an "unusually dry phase" of the Northeast Monsoon since mid-January, explained Mr Balakrishnan. This typically lasts till early March. He also noted that Singapore has experienced similar dry periods, the most recent one in 2010.

"Global climate change means greater weather volatility - with increased chances of both more intense storms and unpredicatable periods of drought," he wrote.

He encouraged members of the public to look at water conservation tips at http://www.pub.gov.sg/CONSERVE/HOUSEHOLDS/Pages/Watersavinghabits.aspx