Then and Now
The Early Years
Water reclamation had its humble beginnings in the 1970s but unreliable technology and high cost then deterred its implementation. With advancement in membrane technology and decreasing membrane prices, the NEWater study was initiated in 1998 and NEWater was born in 2003. Pioneered by PUB, NEWater is a key pillar of Singapore’s sustainable water supply.
In 2002 when the Singapore Green Plan (SGP) was unveiled, it aimed to increase water supply from unconventional sources, such as NEWater and desalinated water, for non-potable use. The rationale behind this plan was to diversify Singapore’s water resources; to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy a sustainable water supply.
Since then, through intensive public education and awareness of public acceptance, especially from the industries, the demand for NEWater grew steadily. In fact, the wafer fabrication plants in Singapore were amongst the first few to convert to NEWater.
The first NEWater plants were opened in Bedok and Kranji in 2003, followed by Ulu Pandan plant in March 2007.
The largest NEWater plant at Changi with a capacity of 50mgd opened in May 2010. With this addition, coupled with the expansion of the existing plants, NEWater now meets 30% of Singapore’s total water demand.