Singapore to build fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island

SINGAPORE - Singapore will build a fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island to enhance its resilience against the effects of climate change.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced this on Tuesday (July 12) during the closing session of the Water Leaders' Summit held during the Singapore International Water Week.

The new plant will have the capacity to produce 30 million gallons of water per day, said Mr Masagos.

As climate change will bring about calamities in increasing frequency, such as prolonged droughts, governments must look at weather independent and weather resilient sources, Mr Masagos said.

National water agency PUB is also exploring the feasibility of co-locating the desalination plant next to an existing power plant, said Mr Masagos. This could help to supply energy needed to run the desalination plant.

Singapore currently imports half its water supply from Malaysia, but by 2060, desalination and Newater are expected to meet up to 85 per cent of its water needs.

The Linggiu reservoir in Malaysia helps the Republic to draw water from the Johor River, by keeping out seawater intrusion, but recent dry weather has caused levels in the reservoir to drop steadily.

There are currently two existing desalination plants which can produce 100 million gallons of water a day. This can meet almost 25 per cent of current water demand.

A third plant in Tuas is expected to be completed by 2017.

The fourth plant, to be completed in 2019, will have facilities to treat freshwater from Marina Reservoir, adding approximately 30 million gallons of water a day to Singapore's water supply. It will be able to meet demand in the city area as well as the eastern part of Singapore.

Singapore's current water demand stands at about 430 million gallons of water per day and this could more than double by 2060 - with non-domestic water demand estimated to make up 70 per cent of overall water use.