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Reducing Singapore's water dependence on Malaysia

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Keppel Infrastructure to build first desalination plant that can treat sea and fresh water

Water conservation was a tough sell on a day like yesterday, when heavy rain pounded the island.

But the burst of rainfall should not mask the real and deep water security issues facing Singapore, with one of its four taps - water from Johor's Linggiu dam, which channels water to treatment plants in the Johor River operated by both the state and Singapore's PUB - at a low of 26 per cent.

Yesterday, the desalination tap got a boost, with Keppel Infrastructure awarded the latest tender to design, build, own and operate Singapore's fourth desalination plant - the first with the ability to treat seawater and fresh water.

With its ability to pump another 137,000 cubic metres (about 30 million gallons) of water a day into our supplies, the plant brings Singapore closer to its aim of meeting 85 per cent of its water needs through desalination and Newater by 2060, when the demand for water is expected to double.

It will also help decrease Singapore's dependence on importing water from Malaysia for its drinking needs.

Expected to be operational in 2020, the new desalination plant will be able to treat sea and fresh water from Marina Reservoir by using reverse osmosis and other advanced membrane technology.


Keppel Infrastructure was chosen as the preferred bidder for a concession period of 25 years by national water agency PUB, according to a statement released yesterday.

The contract is estimated to be worth $400 to $500 million, according to The Business Times.

Singapore and Malaysia recently agreed on the importance of ensuring reliable and adequate water supply from the Johor River as spelt out in the 1962 Water Agreement.

Both sides agreed to take the necessary measures to make this happen, including working on the Johor River Barrage project, which will be fully operational by March.