To improve the efficiency of the desalination process and optimal utilisation of resource of water, a new SGD2.5 million Water Research Centre will be opened in Singapore. For this, Singapore’s national water agency (PUB) has signed an agreement with Japanese firm Kurita Water Industries.
PUB has also signed agreements with Saudi Arabia and Australia to promote research and collaboration in water technologies.
Masagos Zulkifli, Environment and Water Resource Minister of Singapore, announced the centre’s launch during the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) Spotlight 2017 event, held at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa.
Masagos observed that the Republic cannot take good water quality for granted.
He said that PUB tests various types of water for over 300 different quality parameters, far beyond any international drinking water regulation requirements. The Republic has also deployed about 300 pressure and water quality sensors around the island, which constantly monitor the 5,400 km-long water supply network.
He added, “All these treatments, sensors and testing are not without cost, but the confidence it inspires in the public and the assurance it gives to the regulators are quite literally priceless.”
It is to be noted that half of the Republic’s water is imported from Malaysia, and the rest comes from local catchment areas, NEWater and desalination.
The new Water Research Centre will support the development of novel technologies in desalination and water reuse, which are key to Singapore’s four “national taps”.
Harry Seah, PUB chief technology officer, said, “One of the solutions Kurita is developing is a new chemical that helps membranes (which filter impurities) operate in a more efficient way. If it works, we’ll operate at lower pressure, which means lower energy, which translates into lower costs.”
The PUB’s agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation will support R&D in areas such as desalination, energy reduction and leak detection. The agreement with Western Australia’s Water Corporation will boost collaboration in the fields of urban water supply, waste water management and innovation.
Referring to the water price hikes, Masagos cited the importance of “pricing water right” to “continually shore up our water system”.
The 30 per cent water price hike, to be phased in over two years, was announced during the Budget in February.