PUB, Keppel Marina East desalination plant earn top honours at Global Water Awards

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant won in its category for its innovative capability to treat both seawater and freshwater.
The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant won in its category for its innovative capability to treat both seawater and freshwater.PHOTO: KEPPEL

SINGAPORE - National water agency PUB and Singapore's newest desalination plant have secured top honours at the annual Global Water Awards.

PUB was named Resilient Water Agency of the Year for its robust efforts in ensuring the Republic's water security amid the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it said in a statement on Thursday (June 3).

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, which was officially opened in February, won in its category for its innovative capability to treat both seawater and freshwater from the surrounding reservoir depending on weather conditions.

Both beat three other nominees in their respective categories to take top prizes at the Global Water Awards, which was established by publisher and events organiser Global Water Intelligence in 2006.

The results were announced during an online event on Wednesday. 

The awards recognise the most important achievements in the international water industry and the initiatives in the water, used water and desalination sectors that are moving it forward.

This year's win marks PUB's fourth consecutive honours at the annual awards and is a testament to its commitment to operational excellence with continual investments in innovation and technology to become a smart utility of the future, the agency said.

Last year, the upgraded Choa Chu Kang Waterworks was named Water Project of the Year, while PUB-owned Tuas Desalination Plant and the Ulu Pandan Wastewater Treatment Demonstration Plant won in previous years.

The Resilient Water Agency of the Year award is a new category which recognises government agencies or water utilities that offered the most robust or innovative response to the unique challenges of 2020 for the water and used water sector.

PUB said it initiated a crisis management plan to ensure that plants and operations would function as usual when the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year, putting into place work arrangements to keep its staff safe.

It also had to respond quickly to manpower challenges and take proactive steps to ensure sufficient stockpile of materials and supplies for its operations, maintenance and construction projects, it added.

PUB chief executive Ng Joo Hee said: "Because we have been quick to act, nimble in adjusting and able to coordinate as one, PUB continues to accomplish our water mission, in spite of a raging pandemic and an uncertain business environment.

"The commencement of operations at the Keppel Marina East Desalination plant, with its dual-mode capability, has further strengthened Singapore's water security, adding a weather-resilient source of water in the face of climate change."

The plant, which has its entire treatment facility and pumping station located underground, features a recreational space that is accessible to the public.

Ms Cindy Lim, CEO of Keppel Infrastructure, said: "The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant showcases Keppel's strong project management and technological capabilities, and our ability to harness these capabilities to integrate ecosystems and the built environment from end to end."

Mr Christopher Gasson, publisher of Global Water Intelligence, also noted: "By optimising its physical footprint and energy efficiency, (the plant) sets a new standard for desalination plants around the world."

The Marina East plant started operations last June and was one of the key projects PUB focused on to strengthen Singapore's water resilience amid the challenges of Covid-19 in 2020, it said.

PUB also began construction works last year on the floating solar farm on Tengeh Reservoir and Tuas Nexus, Singapore's first integrated and solid waste treatment facility.