A sustainable future: Singapore water story told on a global stage at UN

Globally, at least two billion people use a drinking water source contaminated by human waste. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. With no natural resources, limited land and a growing population, Singapore is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. Yet in spite of nature’s poor endowment, Singapore beat the odds and turned its water vulnerability into a strategic asset within 50 years. Singapore’s efforts in sustainable water management over the past few decades have culminated in its global recognition as a leader in water sustainability. 

Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive ofPUB represented Singapore at the United Nation’s (UN) launch of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018 – 2028, and delivered a speech. The decade commenced on World Water Day, 22nd March 2018 in New York, United States (U.S.). Singapore, one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, shared its unique story on water for sustainable development and how it accomplished number six of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.

Goal 6 of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals calls for ensuring the “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” While SDG 6’s collective goal for water may be ambitious for the world, it is certainly achievable as seen in Singapore. Singapore has successfully realised SDG 6 by thinking of water and sanitation as one whole, and for 15 years, has been endlessly recycling water, reusing it again and again. What Singapore does – reclaiming wastewater to create NEWater – is a natural emulation of the water cycle. By copying nature, the thirst of 5.5 million Singaporeans has been quenched.