Companies looking to purchase water efficient equipment or embark on water recycling initiatives to save more water in their operations will now be able to tap on additional funding and receive their grants faster from National Water Agency PUB. These are some of the new pro-industry measures under PUB’s enhanced Water Efficiency Fund (WEF), which will benefit eligible companies using at least 1,000m3 or more water monthly, coming into effect from 1 Nov 2020.
Introduced in 2007, the WEF encourages companies to manage their water demand by co-funding water efficiency projects that yield at least 10% reduction in water consumption or annual water savings of at least 6,000m3. These include feasibility studies, water audits, recycling efforts and the use of alternate sources of water. To date, PUB has facilitated more than 350 projects, with over $24 million funding awarded.
PUB has been actively supporting companies and industries to implement water saving initiatives and reduce their water consumption. The non-domestic sector currently accounts for more than half of Singapore’s total water demand of 430 million gallons per day. Total water demand is expected to almost double by 2060, with the non-domestic sector accounting for most of the increase in demand.
Enhancements to Water Efficiency Fund
The latest enhancements to WEF include expanded funding areas, higher funding amounts and shorter disbursement periods, to facilitate adoption of water efficient equipment and better cashflow for project implementation. This is expected to benefit about 3,200 eligible non-domestic customers.
The expanded funding areas include a new category for water efficient equipment. Companies can now receive funding of up to $300,000, or up to 50% of the cost of installing water efficient equipment, such as commercial dishwashers and washer extractors for their business. For existing categories such as the Water Efficiency Assessment, PUB will co-fund up to half of the total qualifying costs, instead of just the water audit cost, up to a maximum of $30,000.
Water recycling initiatives and projects using alternate water sources could also receive higher funding amounts from higher incentives per cubic metre (m3) of potable water, NEWater and industrial water saved that will be accrued over a longer period of time, up to 15 years instead of seven years, capped at $1 million per project. The incentive rates to be applied per cubic metre (m3) of water saved will be increased from $0.60 to $0.71 for potable water, $0.30 to $0.45 for NEWater and $0.10 to $0.37 for industrial water.
PUB has also shortened the grant disbursement period for water recycling initiatives and the use of alternate water sources, from seven years to three years. Companies undertaking these projects will receive 50% of the grant amount upon commissioning of the plant, and the remaining 50% upon satisfactory performance in the third year. Pilot projects will also receive full funding of up to 50% of the project cost, capped at $50,000, upon the submission and acceptance of the feasibility report for full-scale implementation, instead of after the full-scale recycling plant has been commissioned.
“Singapore’s non-domestic sector is expected to continue to consume a substantial amount of water and PUB aims to help the sector realise greater water savings. We have enhanced the Water Efficiency Fund to help water-intensive companies defray onboarding costs and facilitate cashflow management, ultimately reducing their water consumption, achieve cost savings and greater business sustainability,” said Mr Ridzuan Ismail, Director, PUB Water Supply (Network) Department.
Large water users like Iwash Laundry, a commercial laundry operator, sees the value of managing its water use more efficiently and is looking forward to reap greater benefits under the enhanced funding scheme. Its parent company, 800 Super Holdings Limited, was recently awarded a grant under WEF in September to build its first water recycling system, to recycle used water from its tunnel washer and washer extractors for reuse in its laundry operations. The recycling system is expected to be ready by third quarter 2021.
“As a commercial laundry operator, Iwash Laundry uses a lot of water in our business operations. Water is a scarce resource in Singapore, and we want to do our part as a good corporate citizen to make every drop count. With PUB’s approved funding to build our first water recycling system, we expect to achieve a water recycling rate of up to 49% when the plant is completed. This will reduce our overall water consumption and achieve around 15% cost savings in our monthly water bills. We will continue to explore the use of water efficient equipment and other water saving projects,” said Mr Au Chee Cheong, Director of Iwash Laundry, a fully owned subsidiary of 800 Super Holdings Limited.
Water efficiency benchmarks for business sectors
PUB encourages companies to be more water efficient through the Reduce, Replace and Reuse approach. In 2015, PUB introduced the Mandatory Water Efficiency Management Practices (MWEMP), where large water users are required to install private meters to monitor their water usage, and submit details of their water consumption, business activity indicators and water efficiency plans to PUB annually.
With the data collected, PUB develops sector-specific water efficiency benchmarks and Best Practice Guides to help customers better understand water usage patterns in their premises and identify areas to improve water efficiency. Since 2017, PUB has published Best Practice Guides for the Building Sector, Wafer Fabrication and Semiconductor, Refineries, Petrochemicals and Chemicals, Commercial Laundry and Biomedical Manufacturing sectors.