PUB funds up to S$5m from $1m for businesses’ water recycling projects from July

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu during SIWW Spotlight 2023 event held at the Paradox Singapore Merchant Court (Image: The Straits Times)

National water agency PUB will raise its funding cap for water recycling projects under the Water Efficiency Fund (WEF) from S$1m to $5m from 1 Jul 2023 to improve payback period for businesses implementing large-scale water recycling projects. This is part of its efforts to promote water management practices in the non-domestic sector, which refers to water users in industries, commercial offices and retail premises.

PUB will also expand support for project categories under WEF to incentivise more companies to adopt innovative ways of managing water demand. This was announced by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu during the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) Spotlight 2023 event held at the Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.

WEF has provided funding for companies to implement water recycling, adopt technologies for water conservation, and conduct studies to identify water saving opportunities in their operations since 2007. To date, over 350 successful applications have received grants from PUB, which would result in water savings of over 70 million litres a day when fully implemented.

Singapore’s water demand is expected to double by 2065, with the non-domestic sector expected to account for two-thirds of this demand. Recognising the role of businesses and industries in ensuring long-term water sustainability, PUB has been working with non-domestic users to reduce their water demand. It also offers technical support to help companies identify water-saving opportunities within their operations, and match them with technology providers.

During the Committee of Supply debate in March this year, PUB announced plans to mandate water recycling requirements on new projects in the water-intensive wafer fabrication, electronics and biomedical sectors from January 2024. With the new recycling requirements, Singapore is projected to achieve an additional 40 million litres of water savings per day from 2035.

PUB will also increase funding cap for the Industrial Water Solutions Demonstration Fund (IWSDF) from $4m to $5m. This is a sub-scheme under WEF targeted at the implementation of new technologies. It will also increase co-funding ratio for water efficiency assessments and pilot studies from 50% to 70% and funding cap for pilot studies will be increased from $50,000 to $150,000. This will benefit smaller businesses, and businesses in less water-intensive sectors.  

PUB is set to present Singapore Watermark Awards (SWMA) and Water Efficiency Awards in 2024 to recognise water champions. The SWMA will be Singapore’s pinnacle accolade in water conservation, and it will also expand the Water Efficiency Awards to recognise improved water efficiency projects.

The three-day SIWW Spotlight 2023 is jointly organised by PUB and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment as a high-level summit with a focus on bringing global water utility and industry leaders together to share solutions around topics of net zero, decarbonisation, climate resilience and digitalisation. Themed ‘Urgent Climate Action for a Sustainable Water Future’, the event was attended by 340 senior representatives from water utilities, water agencies and industry, including more than 40 water utility CEOs and C-suites.