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Vital for S'pore to become self-sufficient in water

The water issue recently reignited by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad highlights the urgency for Singapore to become self-sufficient in water (S'pore and Malaysia must comply fully with 1962 water treaty: MFA; June 26).

It once again shows that the issue can be easily hijacked and exploited by politicians, despite the binding agreement between the two countries.

With water being an existential issue of national importance, we should make building more desalination plants a top priority and give that more importance than, say, building Changi Airport's Terminal 5. This would bring forward our goal of being self-sufficient in water.

If a country like Israel - one of the world's driest countries - can achieve self-sufficiency in water supply, Singapore - which is surrounded by the sea - should be able to do it as well, and with more efficiency.

As our first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, once said: "Water dominated every other policy. Every other policy had to bend at the knees for water survival."

In short, the issue of water with our neighbour has once again shown that our urgent goal should be to become self-sufficient and wean Singapore off its reliance on others for this precious resource.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'Vital for S'pore to become self-sufficient in water'. Subscribe