Masagos highlights Singapore’s water management at UN forum

Singapore’s water innovation and management were some of the key issues Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli presented in New York on July 18 at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Singapore was one of 47 countries presenting Voluntary National Reviews at the United Nations’ forum aiming to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on rolling out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, some of which are no poverty, zero hunger, good health and affordable clean energy.

Emphasising resilience in current times of climate change-induced weather volatility, Mr Masagos told the forum: “Our national water recycling system collects and treats every drop of wastewater and transforms it into Newater – Singapore’s ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water.”

He also presented on the country’s Deep Tunnel Sewerage System, for its role in collecting and transporting wastewater. The current tunnel, 48km long and linked to 60km of sewers, will be extended by 100km by 2025 to transport and treat more wastewater into Newater for industrial use and domestic consumption.

Masagos: Less rainfall in Singapore over the years

“By reusing water endlessly, Newater cushions our water supply against dry weather, enhancing Singapore’s water sustainability and resilience to shifting climatic patterns,” he remarked.

Speaking to the Straits Times in a separate interview,  he said that “there are existential issues we have defined for ourselves; water is one example. And when people think the problem is over, suddenly something happens that reminds us it is not.”

He also pointed out that “even (nature) is not reliable. Our rainfall in Singapore has been falling over the years.”

He also highlighted technology is a key challenge.

“By moving away from nature to used water, and also desalinated water, instead of being weather-reliant, we have become energy-reliant, and now our new pursuit is to find energy solutions to our water problem,” said Mr Masagos.

But opportunities can be found behind all the climate change-related problems mankind is facing, he said. “In our case, water is the best illustration; we are turning to technology to resolve the problems.”

He added: “Even after finding reverse osmosis will solve our problem, we are looking for technologies to reduce the amount of energy by half of what we’re (using) today.”

Source: Straits Times