Singapore’s Water Scarcity Ali Al-Thani & Mohammed Al-Kuwari
Overview • One of the Asian Tigers • Went from being a low-income country to being a high-income developed country in the span of a quarter of a century ($47,000 per capita in 2012). • Average growth rate 7-8% since 1960. • Highly skilled labor force and the world’s 6th best healthcare system. • Other characteristics of the economy: • Advanced infrastructure • Diversified economy • Tops the world’s list in the ease of doing business • One of the least corrupt countries –only second to the Scandinavian countries • The world’s 7th most innovative country. • In 2010, the FDI stock in Singapore reached 38 $b
Overview • Unlike its neighbors, Singapore does not have natural resources • It is able to purchase natural resources from export revenues. • Singapore is land/arable land scarce • Country area is 710 km. sq. • Singapore is water scarce • Rainwater is the only indigenous source of freshwater –about 2.3 meters per year.
History: Water Scarcity • Britain sought to increase its presence in the region. • In 1819, Sir. Thomas Raffles arrives in Singapore and builds a port. • When he arrived, there were about 1500 people living in Singapore. • Limited water sources, mainly wells, were sufficient in supplying the few inhabitants. • By 1822, there were shortages and the first reservoir was constructed. • By 1850, more than 50,000 people were living in Singapore. • Reservoirs were continuously being constructed to supply inhabitants with water.
History: Water Scarcity • By 1926, the reservoir system became inefficient and Singapore started importing water from Johor state in Malaysia via pipelines. • In 1961, Singapore signed a 50-year agreement (ended in 2011) with Malaysia that allowed it to import 80 mgdpriced at 30 cents per cubic meter. • In 1962, Singapore signed a 99-year contract (ends in 2061) with Malaysia that allows it to import 250 mgd. • In the late 90s, Singapore tried to negotiate new agreements but Malaysia increased the price a lot, making desalination cheaper.
The Demand Side • Increasing Awareness • Educating the population (trips water-producing plants, social media, new regulations). • New Tax System • $ 1.14 plus 30% conservation tax for the first 40 cubic meters per month. • Beyond 40 cubic meters is $1.4 plus 45% tax. • Industries are taxed at a higher rate.
The Supply Side • The Four Taps • Imported water • Local catchment water • Desalination water • NEWater • Basically, diversify the supply source
The Four Taps • Imported water • Used to be the largest source • Currently, about 30-40% • Will not be a source after 2061 • Local catchment water • 17 reservoirs covering two thirds of the island • Less than 10%. • Aiming to cover 90% of the island by 2060.
The Four Taps 3. Desalination Water • First plant opened in 2005 • Currently, there are two plants and plans for new plants • About 15% of domestic supply.
The Four Taps 4. NEWater: use each drop more than once! • Use of advanced technology to recycle wastewater. • NEWater exceeds the requirements set by USEPA & WHO, and it it Singapore’s cleanest water source. • Passed more than 100,000 scientific tests. • Currently, it supplies about 25% of domestic consumption • Used in industries and cooling systems only.
Recommendation • To focus on NEWater • Doubles the water supply as each drop is used more than once. • Cheaper than desalination ( Desalination= $0.5 per cubic meter and NEWater= $0.3) • NEWater production uses less energy than desalination. • You can control water quality –which further reduces production costs. • More efficient than reservoirs (do not depend on rain fall and uses less space). • Most countries are facing water scarcity or are going to in the future, thus focusing on the technology would give Singapore a competitive advantage (it can export it).