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Turning vulnerability into a strategic advantage

In just five decades, Singapore has overcome water shortages despite its lack of natural water resources and pollution in its rivers.

Driven by a vision of what it takes to be sustainable in water, Singapore has been investing in research and technology. Today, the nation has built a robust, diversified and sustainable water supply from four different sources known as the Four National Taps (water from local catchment areas, imported water, reclaimed water known as NEWater and desalinated water).

By integrating the system and maximising the efficiency of each of the four taps, Singapore has ensured a stable, sustainable water supply that is weather resilient, capable of catering to the country’s continued growth.

One of these Taps is the high-grade reclaimed water known as NEWater, a success story made possible by state-of-the-art membrane technologies. Such new technologies are a potential goldmine. The Singapore government has identified water as a new growth sector and will invest about S$330 million in water R&D in the next five years.

Besides its strategic role, water is beautifying Singapore’s landscape and improving Singaporeans’ quality of life. By involving people as stakeholders of the country’s water resources, we are moving closer to realising the vision of Singapore as a City of Gardens and Water.

What PUB does

As the national water agency, PUB is responsible for the collection, production, distribution and reclamation of water in Singapore.


Rainwater is collected through rivers, streams, canals and drains, and stored in 17 reservoirs. Various reservoirs are linked by pipelines so that excess water can be pumped from one reservoir to another, thus optimising storage capacity.


Raw water is piped to the waterworks for treatment.


After treatment, the water is stored in covered reservoirs before being distributed to customers.


Water that has been used by customers is collected via an extensive sewerage system and treated at water reclamation plants. Used water is a resource too – treated used water is further purified using advanced membrane technology to produce high-grade reclaimed water, known as NEWater.

With an eye on the future, PUB has built the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) for long-term sustainability. An integral part of the water loop, the DTSS is a superhighway that channels used water to a centralised water reclamation plant for treatment. The treated used water will then be discharged into the sea or further purified into NEWater.

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Closing the Water Loop

From rainwater collection to used water treatment, the entire water loop is managed by PUB.


Safe To Drink From The Tap

Thanks to sound watershed management, effective water treatment processes and continued investments in R&D, Singaporeans have been enjoying good quality water for the last four decades.

Singapore’s tap water is well within the World Health Organisation's drinking water guidelines, and is suitable for drinking without any further filtration.

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Last updated on 29 Aug 2014