PUB’s Choa Chu Kang Waterworks named Global Water Awards 2020 ‘Water Project of the Year’

National water agency PUB’s newly upgraded Choa Chu Kang Waterworks (CCKWW) that houses the largest ceramic membrane system in the world has been named ‘Water Project of the Year’ at the Global Water Awards 2020, a year after its opening in August 2019. This adds another feather to the cap and is a testament to PUB’s commitment to continuous innovation and technology adoption. 

This is PUB’s third consecutive win at the prestigious annual Global Water Awards, established by Global Water Intelligence (GWI) since 2006. In 2019, PUB-owned Tuas Desalination Plant was conferred ‘Desalination Plant of the Year’; and Ulu Pandan Wastewater Treatment Demonstration Plant was named ‘Water/Wastewater Project of the Year’ in 2018. This year’s results were announced online. 

The Global Water Awards recognise the most important achievements in the water industry and honour initiatives and companies in the water, wastewater and desalination sectors that are moving the industry forward through improved operating performance, innovative technology adoption and sustainable financial models. The ‘Water Project of the Year’ Award recognises projects deploying innovative technology to optimise its physical or environmental footprint. The three other nominees in the category are: Montevina Water Treatment Plant Upgrade in USA, Putatan 2 Drinking Water Plant in the Philippines, and the Tai Po Water Treatment Works Expansion in Hong Kong. 

Singapore’s most advanced water treatment facility 
CCKWW, built in two phases in 1975 and 1981, is one of Singapore’s oldest water treatment plants and the second largest with a total capacity of up to 80 million gallons per day (mgd), enough to fill about 145 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The plant underwent an extensive three-year upgrade in 2016 to enhance the robustness of its water treatment processes by deploying cutting-edge ceramic membrane technology. The upgraded plant comprises a large scale 40mgd ceramic membrane system, with ozone-biological activated (Ozone-BAC) carbon filters added to strengthen the disinfection and treatment process. With this system in place, the plant can carry out advanced treatment of raw water and better able to tackle the negative effects of climate change and an increasingly urbanised catchment on our raw water quality. 

Ceramic membranes are more energy-efficient while occupying a smaller footprint. They are also more cost-efficient with a longer lifespan of 20 years as compared to polymeric membranes, which have to be replaced about every five years. Most importantly, water loss is reduced significantly from 5% to 1% with the use of ceramic membranes.  

“Our challenge in Singapore is to treat economically, to drinking water standards, the runoff in what we believe is the most urbanised catchment in the world. The deployment of ceramic membranes in Choa Chu Kang Waterworks, at scale and currently the largest in the world, makes this almost a breeze. The success of ceramic membranes and other advanced treatment technologies in CCKWW are, of course, the result of years of trial and research. We are happy to have helped push the envelope in water treatment and are most grateful for the recognition,” said Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive, PUB. 

“The Global Water Awards recognise the most important achievements in the international water industry, and reward those initiatives in the water, wastewater and desalination sectors that are moving the industry forward. I would like to congratulate Singapore’s Choa Chu Kang Waterworks, winner of the ‘Water Project of the Year 2020’ – for ushering in a new era for water treatment as the largest ceramic membrane treatment facility in the world. This is testament to Singapore’s unrelenting efforts for greater resource optimisation in its small island-state, and PUB’s continuous R&D efforts to optimise both the physical and environmental footprint of its facilities in the most cost-efficient manner,” said Mr Christopher Gasson, Publisher of Global Water Intelligence.