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Chlorine in tap water keeps it safe for direct drinking

We refer to Mr Zhang Jian’s letter, “Is Chlorine in tap water safe?” (26 Sep 2019). 

Singapore’s tap water is perfectly safe for direct consumption and is well within the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Raw water from reservoirs is conveyed to the waterworks where it is treated, filtered and disinfected. Treated water is disinfected with chlorine to remove all harmful bacteria and viruses. Residual chlorine in the water keeps the water germ-free and safe for direct drinking. This practise is in line with WHO’s recommendation to maintain a chorine residual throughout the distribution system to ensure water safety. The amount of residual chlorine in our tap water is well within the WHO’s limit of 5.0mg/litre.

Our tap water is suitable for drinking without the need for boiling or further filtration. PUB discourages the use of filtration devices as bacteria will grow on the filters if they are not kept clean, maintained or replaced regularly. To avoid misleading the public, suppliers and water filter companies are reminded not to make false claims on the effects of chlorine on humans and PUB water when promoting their products.

The public can be assured that PUB maintains a comprehensive water monitoring programme that starts from the raw water in the reservoir all the way to the customers’ tap, to ensure that only safe and clean water is supplied to the public. Over 450,000 tests are conducted annually on more than 300 parameters, surpassing some 130 parameters specified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the WHO. Water samples are taken daily from the distribution network and customers' taps at various locations throughout the island and tested to ensure that good water quality is maintained during distribution.

Members of the public can refer to PUB’s website or call PUB’s 24-hour call centre at 1800-CALL-PUB1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255782) for more information.

Lim Mong Hoo
Director,Water Quality
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency
Water Goes Through Stringent Tests from Source to Tap

We thank Mr Wong Chee Meng for his letter “How did PUB conduct tests to ensure water safety?” (Straits Times, 23 April 2019).

PUB takes water quality in Singapore very seriously. We have a comprehensive and robust sampling and monitoring system to ensure our tap water is clean, wholesome and safe for direct consumption. Our water quality is closely monitored and tested at every step - from the source including reservoirs and seawater, to the treatment process (including membrane systems) in the waterworks and desalination plants, and the water supply in the distribution network. Water samples from consumer’s taps are also tested daily.

All water produced by our waterworks and plants is tested to ensure that it meets our stringent water quality requirements before being supplied to consumers. Any water, including those from Tuaspring Desalination Plant, that does not fulfil our water quality requirements will be rejected and not supplied. Singapore’s water quality is thus perfectly safe for drinking directly from the tap without any further filtering or treatment.

Singapore’s tap water has consistently passed the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality. We conduct over 400,000 water quality tests annually on more than 300 parameters, surpassing some 100 parameters specified by the WHO.

Lim Mong Hoo Director,
Water Quality Department PUB,
Singapore's National Water Agency

Cleaning frequency to be increased at floating wetlands at Jurong Lake

We thank Mr Wong Lai Fa for his feedback on the lighting and litter issues at the floating wetlands boardwalk, which is part of ABC Waters @ Jurong Lake.

We noted that the visitorship to the floating wetlands has increased in the past few months. We will step up the frequency of cleaning and will be adding more rubbish bins to encourage proper disposal by visitors.

Repair works are in progress for the boardwalk lighting, and will be completed this week.

For any future queries, the public may call PUB’s 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-2255-782 or email us at pub_qsm@pub.gov.sg.

Goh Chong Hoon 吴宗训
Senior Deputy Director (Reservoir Management), Catchment and Waterways Department 高级副署长(蓄水池管理)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

Building owners are responsible for maintenance of their service pipes

We thank Mr Abu Mansor for his letter, “Wastage: Leaking pipe not fixed” (13 January 2021).

Upon receiving the feedback from Mr Mansor on 15 December 2020, PUB service crew went on site to Pandan Avenue and Pandan Road to investigate on the same day. However, the crew was unable to locate any pipe leak after checking all PUB’s pipes, valves and bulk meters in the vicinity. They tried contacting Mr Mansor several times to find out the precise location of the leak but were unable to reach him.

On 13 January 2021, PUB contacted Mr Mansor who provided additional information on the specific location of the leak. Our service crew went on site immediately and found the leaking service pipe belonging to a commercial building along Pandan Avenue. PUB informed the building management to repair the leak and the leak was rectified on the same day. PUB has updated Mr Mansor on the completed repair works and thank him for his feedback and assistance.

Under the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, premise owners are responsible for the proper maintenance of their service pipes and to ensure that there are no leaks. Any pipe leaks should be repaired promptly.

We encourage members of the public to contact PUB’s 24 hour call centre at 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782) to report any pipe leaks.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Rubbish bins at MacRitchie Reservoir Park cleared regularly

We thank Mr Chin Kee Thou for his feedback (Not enough rubbish bins at MacRitchie, 16 Feb 2022).

There are a total of 22 rubbish bins situated at popular locations around MacRitchie Reservoir Park – the majority of them are monkey-proof bins with heavy lids to prevent monkeys from opening them, which are cleared twice daily. We have also installed six "smart" bins equipped with sensors for remote monitoring of the bins' capacity, and cleaners are activated to empty a smart bin immediately once it reaches 80 per cent capacity.

Over the Chinese New Year period, PUB received increased feedback on littering within the park and has worked with our cleaning contractor to increase the clearing frequency of the bins and their surrounding area.

We encourage park-goers to dispose their trash into the bins as there were instances when trash was scattered around bins that were not full. Let’s keep our parks clean and litter-free for all to enjoy.

Cheng Geok Ling (Ms)
Chief Engineer (Urban Liveability)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Multi-functional and sustainable solutions key part of Singapore’s coastal protection efforts

We thank Mr Ryan Pang for his feedback on the need for more sustainable solutions for coastal protection (16 Nov 2023).

As Singapore’s national coastal protection agency, PUB is working with various stakeholders to develop effective measures that can protect our coastline from the impact of sea level rise and climate change.

Since May 2021, we have progressively commenced studies on different sections of Singapore’s coastline to understand their site characteristics and the types of potential coastal protection measures. These include the City-East Coast, North-west Coast and Jurong Island. Where feasible, we aim to develop solutions that can be integrated with existing developments and land use plans to achieve multiple benefits, such as co-location with recreational spaces for the community. One example is the Marina Barrage, a popular recreation venue which also serves its main purpose of keeping out seawater while enhancing flood protection in downtown Singapore.

Coastal cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong have demonstrated that there is scope to balance environmental sustainability with the need for practical engineering measures to keep out the rising seas. This is achieved through hybrid solutions that combine nature elements, including planting of mangroves, seagrass or vegetation, with coastal infrastructure such as seawalls and revetments. While hybrid solutions can help enhance biodiversity, we must consider their suitability taking into account the site conditions along our coastline.

Earlier this year, PUB launched Singapore’s first research programme dedicated to coastal protection and flood management. It will foster greater collaboration across academia and the industry, spurring the growth of a vibrant research ecosystem. Under this programme, the Coastal Protection and Flood Resilience Institute Singapore was established as a multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary research centre, bringing together the strengths of our local universities and research institutes to develop innovative and sustainable solutions and build a pipeline of coastal protection talent.

Ms Hazel Khoo
Director, Coastal Protection Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Rusted and damaged railings should be replaced

We thank Mr Xu for his feedback (“Rusted and damaged railings should be replaced”) 交流站:应更换生锈破损排水沟栏杆, 17 Nov 2022).

PUB carries out maintenance of drains and their appurtenances, including railings, as part of our routine inspections to ensure that they are able to function effectively and are safe for the public.

Mr Xu is referring to the stretch of railings along Bukit Batok East Avenue 2, Avenue 4 and Hillview Avenue, which covers 2.4 km along both sides of canal over four estates. Although some of the railings have peeled-off paint and rust, we would like to assure him that the railings have been inspected to be functional and safe.

We have been progressively replacing the railings in the four estates since 2021, as part of PUB’s ongoing railing replacement programme. The railings at Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 and Avenue 4 have already been replaced with the new railings. For the stretch of railings along Hillview Avenue, they will be replaced by February 2023. The new railings are also made of aluminium and will be more corrosion resistant and durable.

Goh Chong Hoon 吴宗训
Chief Engineer, Catchment and Waterways Department 总工程师 (集水区与水道署)
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency 公用事业局

Installed Features Prevent People Getting Closer to Water

We thank Ms Clara Ng for her feedback “Installed Features Prevent People Getting Closer to Water, 18 Aug 2022”. We are glad that Ms Ng enjoys spending time at PUB’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) sites.

The ABC Waters programme is PUB’s initiative to integrate drains, canals and reservoirs holistically into the urban environment with community spaces for all to enjoy. ABC Waters projects are rolled out progressively in conjunction with drainage improvement works.

PUB plans to improve the entire Bedok Canal progressively to increase the drainage capacity to cope with more intense rainfall and enhance the flood protection for the surrounding area.

We are currently upgrading the section of Bedok Canal between Upper Changi Road East and Bedok Junction and have incorporated ABC Waters enhancements along the canal to create new community spaces for the residents. As each ABC Waters site is different, the designs will also differ depending on several factors, such as site conditions and the safety of park users.

At Bedok Canal, the height of the railings installed along the canal are at the standard height of 1.1m. The railings along the footbridge across the canal on elevated ground are at 1.4m to protect both cyclists and pedestrians. The grey granolithic floor-screed was designed to provide slip resistance and safety for users.

PUB and NParks will endeavour to design and maintain each of our ABC Waters site with care so that members of the public can continue to enjoy these community spaces.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Lew Chee Keong
Director, Facilities Management
National Parks Board

Gravel path at Pandan Reservoir a maintenance track for vehicular access

We thank Mr Leong Horn Kee for his letter “Reservoir area could be improved, 19 August 2022” .

The gravel track on the crest of Pandan Reservoir Dyke is a maintenance track used by PUB and our contractors for vehicular access to carry out maintenance works around the reservoir. Trees and shrubs are also not planted on the dyke to maintain the integrity of the dyke.

Jogging and cycling are allowed on the gravel track to provide community and recreational space to residents in the nearby estates. Residents can also utilise the nearby park connector networks (PCN) around Pandan Gardens and the West Coast area for recreation. We also welcome members of the public to visit the nearby Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) sites at Sungei Pandan, Sungei Ulu Pandan or Jurong Lake to enjoy the beautiful waterbodies and community spaces.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

PUB works with stakeholders to highlight importance of keeping waterways clean

We thank Mr Hong Tianming for his valuable feedback on the need for public stewardship of Singapore’s waterways and reservoirs (“国人不应污染水沟”, 19 Oct 2023).

Over the years, Singapore has developed an extensive network of about 8,000km of waterways and 17 reservoirs to expand our water catchment areas and meet our water supply needs.

Mr Hong has rightly pointed out that our drains and waterways serve important functions. They channel rainwater to the reservoirs before it is treated to become drinking water supplied to our homes. The effective conveyance of stormwater is also critical to prevent flooding during heavy rainstorms.

Collective efforts from everyone are necessary to keep our waterways free flowing and clean from pollution. As part of our public education efforts, PUB has involved the local community including schools, residents, and organisations to raise awareness on the importance of keeping our waterways clean. Our Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme was also launched in 2006 to bring the public closer to water and foster stronger stewardship of our waterways. Since then, we have transformed many of our utilitarian drains and canals into beautiful spaces that integrate seamlessly with our living environment. Signages placed at these sites also remind people to take care of our precious water resources.

PUB will continue to work with relevant authorities and local community to educate the public on the importance of keeping our waterways clean and free flowing. Together, we can protect the quality of our water supply, and help prevent the occurrence of flash floods during intense rain.

Mr Yeo Keng Soon 杨庆舜
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department 署长, 集水区与水道署
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

Building owners have to maintain service pipes (Published date: 16 Jan 2021)

We thank Mr Abu Mansor for his letter (Wastage: Leaking pipe not fixed, Jan 13).

On receiving the feedback from Mr Mansor on Dec 15 last year, PUB service crew went to Pandan Avenue and Pandan Road to investigate on the same day.

However, the crew was unable to locate any pipe leak after checking all of PUB's pipes, valves and bulk meters in the vicinity. They tried contacting Mr Mansor several times to find out the precise location of the leak, but were unable to reach him.

On Jan 13, PUB contacted Mr Mansor, who provided additional information on the specific location of the leak. Our service crew went on site immediately and found the leaking service pipe belonging to a commercial building along Pandan Avenue.

PUB informed the building management to repair the leak and the leak was rectified on the same day. PUB has updated Mr Mansor on the completed repair works and thanks him for his feedback and assistance.

Under the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, owners of premises are responsible for the proper maintenance of their service pipes and to ensure that there are no leaks. Any pipe leaks should be repaired promptly.

We encourage members of the public to contact PUB's 24-hour call centre on 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782) to report any pipe leaks.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Promoting water conservation a key facet of PUB's work (Published date: 24 Feb 2021)

We thank Mr Seah Yam Meng, Mr Philip Siow, Mr Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar, Mr Tan Kim Hock and Mr Foo Kwang Sai for their feedback and suggestions on desalination and water conservation (Focus on desalination as main tap, Feb 8; Public action must complement government efforts, Feb 12; Cost not the only factor to consider with desalination, Feb 12; Small household habits can add up to a lot, Feb 16; Offer rebates to those who use less, Feb 16).

It is heartening to know that water sustainability is a topic that is close to the heart of many and that there is strong awareness that we must never take water for granted.

PUB is committed to ensuring a diversified and sustainable water supply through our four national taps: catchment water, imported water, Newater and desalinated water.

Newater and desalinated water have become increasingly important as they are weather-resilient sources that strengthen Singapore's water security especially in the face of climate change. Our fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island is targeted to be ready later this year.

Construction is ongoing for the second phase of PUB's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System - due to be completed by 2025 - which will further boost Singapore's used-water recycling rate and enhance our ability to produce Newater.

But even as we continue to build up our water production capabilities, demand for water will inexorably increase. Promoting water conservation remains a key issue that PUB has invested considerable effort, in the form of public education campaigns aimed at forging a strong water-saving culture in Singapore, and forums for industries to share their experiences in water recycling.

PUB has stepped up its efforts to reach out to households, businesses, industries and the young.

Since 2007, more than 350 industries and businesses have reduced their water demand by up to 50 per cent through recycling efforts and water-efficient processes.

It is important that children cultivate good water habits from a young age. We have worked closely with schools to hold water rationing exercises during our annual water conservation campaign, with students from over 100 schools taking part in March 2019.

We recently launched a new mascot Water Sally alongside the iconic Water Wally, and a new storybook series to be distributed to close to 1,800 pre-schools for storytelling sessions in class. We also collaborated with renowned children's education brand Pinkfong to produce a song to reinforce the value of water.

Over the last two decades, we have made significant strides in encouraging households to reduce their water consumption. In 2019, daily consumption stood at 141 litres per person. The goal is to reduce this to 130 litres by 2030.

This year, PUB's water conservation campaign next month will focus on climate change and its impact on Singapore's water sustainability. As pointed out by Mr Tan, every little bit helps - even small habits like turning off the shower while soaping can make a difference. Every individual can play a part to strengthen Singapore's climate resilience by using water wisely and making every drop count.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency


Pedestrian safety a consideration when installing drain railings (Published date: 13 Sept 2021)

We thank Mr Gopinath Menon for his feedback (Have railings for open drains to protect pedestrians when flooding occurs, Sept 7).

Under PUB's Code of Practice on Surface Water Drainage, railings must be installed at all open drains with a depth of more than 1m.

In addition, we regularly review the need to install railings at locations with high pedestrian traffic or within flood-prone areas, even if the existing open drains there are less than 1m in depth.

Examples of such locations include Marigold Drive, Zion Road and Lorong Buangkok.

PUB also considers public feedback and will install railings where feasible to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

When reconstructing open roadside drains as part of our ongoing work to upgrade Singapore's drainage infrastructure, PUB converts them into covered drains - which also double as footpaths - to optimise land use.

To facilitate maintenance access for covered drains, metal gratings or covers are installed along footpaths. These are fastened securely and are unlikely to be dislodged during flooding.

PUB will continue to review drain railing installations at different locations to enhance pedestrians' safety.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

PUB replaces old drain gratings progressively as part of drainage maintenance and upgrading works

We refer to the letter by Yao Qiliu (“排水口格栅旁有缝隙”, 22 Sep 2022).

PUB has been progressively replacing existing on-road drain gratings as part of our drainage maintenance and upgrading works. Besides ensuring that these can effectively channel away stormwater from road surfaces, we also adopt the latest design to enhance safety for road users.

Replacement of the drain gratings is done in accordance with the latest design and standards, last revised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2011. The new design has grating bars that are perpendicular to traffic flow, and closer spacing between the drain grating and the road. This new grating design has been applied to all new road construction and drainage upgrading projects, and serves to reduce the risk of cycling accidents. Since 2011, PUB has replaced approximately 270,000 drain gratings with the improved design through our drainage upgrading works.

PUB will continue to work with the relevant authorities to review the current approach and prioritisation of upgrading works, and enhance public safety.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Singapore’s water management system is innovative and land-efficient

We thank Mr Wu for his suggestion on adopting new used water recycling technology and optimising space by housing treatment facilities underground, citing a successful example in Shenzhen, China.

In Singapore, the same approach towards technological innovation and land efficiency applies in the planning and implementation of water infrastructure. Notably, we have transformed the way we manage our used water system with the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS). Underground tunnels convey used water entirely via gravity to centralised water reclamation plants located near the coast, away from the city and residential areas.

The DTSS has been crucial in freeing up additional space previously occupied by used water infrastructure for other uses. When completed by 2026, it will result in total land savings of 150 hectares – nearly twice the size of the Singapore Botanic Gardens – by removing intermediate pumping stations and decentralised waste reclamation plants. For example, land that was housing the aged Seletar Water Reclamation Plant is now part of the Seletar Aerospace Park, a thriving aerospace cluster that has attracted over $1.5 billion worth of investments.

At our water reclamation plants, we have also leveraged new technologies to increase treatment capacity of used water while reducing our overall land footprint. With the use of new technologies, such as membrane bio-reactors, we have more than doubled treatment capacity while occupying a similar footprint of about 40 hectares at the Changi Water Reclamation Plant, compared to an older conventional plant in Ulu Pandan.

More importantly, the treated effluent is further purified into NEWater, Singapore's third National Tap. Recycling water in an endless loop has been a game-changer as it allows us to strengthen Singapore’s water resilience, especially amid the challenge of climate change.

In land-scarce Singapore, PUB has made it a point to incorporate multi-functional design into our water infrastructure where feasible. The Marina Barrage exemplifies this approach with its 3-in-1 benefits – besides serving its primary purpose of creating a freshwater reservoir in the city for water supply, it alleviates flooding in the low-lying areas of the city while also serving as a popular recreation venue for families.

Mr Yong Wei Hin 杨卫兴
Director, Water Reclamation (Plants) Department 署署长, 供水回收(水厂)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

PUB replaces old drain gratings progressively as part of drainage maintenance and upgrading works

We refer to the letter by Mr Danny Chow, “Cost should not be obstacle to preventing accidents” (Sept 28).

PUB has been progressively replacing existing on-road drain gratings as part of our drainage maintenance and upgrading works. Besides ensuring that these can effectively channel away stormwater from road surfaces, we also adopt the latest design to enhance safety for road users.

Replacement of the drain gratings is done in accordance with the latest design and standards, last revised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2011.

The new design has grating bars that are perpendicular to traffic flow, and closer spacing between the drain grating and the road. This new grating design has been applied to all new road construction and drainage upgrading projects, and serves to reduce the risk of cycling accidents.

Since 2011, PUB has replaced about 270,000 drain gratings with the improved design through our drainage upgrading works.

PUB will continue to work with the relevant authorities to review the current approach and prioritisation of upgrading works, and enhance public safety. We would also like to remind cyclists to exercise vigilance when cycling on the roads to stay safe.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Households that are more water efficient pay less

We thank Mr Christopher Leong Chi How for his feedback on the water tariff (Water tariff should be based on number of people in a household, Sept 30).

In Singapore, we price every drop of water to reflect its true cost. To encourage water conservation, we apply a higher-tier tariff only to water use that far exceeds the average household consumption. Currently, the higher tariff is set at a threshold of 40 cubic m of water per month.

Over 96 per cent of households in Singapore use less than 40 cubic m of water per month. In fact, a typical household of four uses an average of about 18 cubic m monthly.

A higher water tariff is applied only to the amount of water used above the 40-cubic m threshold. This is intended to send a strong signal against excessive use of water. All households pay the same tariff rate for the first 40 cubic m.

Households with the same number of people that are more careful with their water usage will pay less based on the amount of water used.

Given that the majority of households consume less than 40 cubic m a month and do not pay the higher-tier water tariff, we do not plan to adopt per capita charging that would incur higher administrative costs, which would ultimately be borne by all consumers, including more water-efficient households.

While we adopt right-pricing of water for all, targeted support is provided to lower- and middle-income households.

Besides the additional support measures announced recently by the Government to offset HDB households’ utilities bills, the Climate Friendly Households Programme will also be enhanced to include more efficient water fittings that can be bought with the vouchers. This will support households in achieving water savings.

Households can adopt simple habits, such as washing clothes on a full load and turning off the shower while soaping, to reduce daily water usage and their expenses on water.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Policy & Planning
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Different railing design due to safety concerns

We thank Mr Yao Qiliu for his feedback in his letter (“Coordinate materials and design to save public funds” 交流站:材料与设计应划一以节省公款, 4 November 2022). Public agencies do adopt the same design standards for common features, which may be updated over time.

The railings along the different sides of the open drain connecting Jalan Keli to Sin Ming Road were installed or upgraded at different points. While it originally had galvanised mild steel railings that run parallel on both sides, a short section of aluminium railing along the width of the drain was subsequently installed, in line with updated design standards, after the construction of a footpath across the drain.

In 2019, as part of planned upgrading works, PUB noted from public feedback and consultation with the Land Transport Authority that the adjacent footpath on one side of the drain is frequented by cyclists. To enhance safety, we installed higher 1.4m steel railings in line with the design update for public safety. As the existing galvanised mild steel railings on the other side of the drain were still in good condition, PUB took a prudent approach by retaining these railings to save public funds.

Lee Cai Jie 李才杰
Chief Engineer, Catchment & Waterways Department 总工程师 (集水区与水道署)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

Pedestrian safety a consideration when installing drain railings

We thank Mr Gopinath Menon for his feedback ("Have railings for open drains to protect pedestrians when flooding occurs", 7 Sept 2021).

Under PUB’s Code of Practice on Surface Water Drainage, railings must be installed at all open drains with a depth of more than 1 metre. In addition, we regularly review the necessity of installing railings at locations with high pedestrian traffic or within flood prone areas, even if the existing open drains there are less than 1 metre in depth.

Examples of such locations include Marigold Drive, Zion Road and Lorong Buangkok. PUB also considers public feedback and will install railings where feasible to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

When reconstructing open roadside drains as part of our ongoing work to upgrade Singapore's drainage infrastructure, PUB converts them into covered drains – which also double as footpaths – to optimise land use.

To facilitate maintenance access for covered drains, metal gratings or covers are installed along footpaths. These are fastened securely and are unlikely to be dislodged during flooding. PUB will continue to review drain railing installations at different locations to enhance pedestrians’ safety.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Run-off at waterplay caused by high water pressure

We thank Mr Lee Ser Wei for his feedback on water run-off from the Play @ Heights Park in Toa Payoh.

PUB and Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council jointly conducted on-site checks and determined that the water run-off into the drain is due to high water pressure at one of the park’s water features. The town council has adjusted the water pressure to rectify this issue.

In Singapore, waterplays and water features use potable water. They are designed as closed systems to facilitate recycling and conserve water.

James Koh
Chief Engineer Water Supply Network Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Fen Ng
Manager Corporate Communications
Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council

Promoting water conservation a key facet of PUB's work

We thank the writers Mr Seah Yam Meng, Mr Philip Siow, Mr Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar, Mr Tan Kim Hock and Mr Foo Kwang Sai for their feedback and suggestions on desalination and water conservation. It is heartening to know that water sustainability is a topic that is close to the heart for many and the strong awareness that we must never take water for granted. PUB is committed to ensuring a diversified and sustainable water supply through our Four National Taps – catchment water, imported water, NEWater and desalinated water. NEWater and desalinated water have become increasingly important as they are weather-resilient sources that strengthen Singapore’s water security especially in the face of climate change. Our fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island is targeted to be ready later this year. Construction is ongoing for the second phase of PUB's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System – due to be completed by 2025 – which will further boost Singapore's used water recycling rate and enhance our ability to produce NEWater.

But even as we continue to build up our water production capabilities, demand for water will inexorably increase. Promoting water conservation remains a key issue that PUB has invested considerable effort, in the form of public education campaigns aimed at forging a strong water-saving culture in Singapore, and forums for industries to share their experiences in water recycling.

PUB has stepped up our efforts to reach out to households, businesses, industries and the youth. Since 2007, more than 350 industries and businesses have reduced their water demand by up to 50% through recycling efforts and water-efficient processes.

It is important that children cultivate good water habits from a young age. We worked closely with schools to hold water rationing exercises during our annual water conservation campaign, with students from over 100 schools taking part in March 2019. We recently launched a new mascot Water Sally alongside the iconic Water Wally, and a new storybook series to be distributed to close to 1,800 pre-schools for storytelling sessions in class. We also collaborated with renowned children’s education brand Pinkfong to produce a song to reinforce the value of water.

Over the last two decades, we have made significant strides in encouraging households to reduce their water consumption. In 2019, daily consumption stood at 141 litres per person. The goal is to reduce this to 130 litres by 2030. This year, PUB’s water conservation campaign in March will focus on climate change and its impact on Singapore’s water sustainability. As pointed out by Mr Tan, every little bit helps – even small habits like turning off the shower while soaping can make a difference. Every individual can play our part to strengthen Singapore’s climate resilience by using water wisely and making every drop count.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Chlorine in tap water keeps it safe for direct drinking

We refer to Mr Zhang Jian’s letter, “Is Chlorine in tap water safe?” (26 Sep 2019). 

Singapore’s tap water is perfectly safe for direct consumption and is well within the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Raw water from reservoirs is conveyed to the waterworks where it is treated, filtered and disinfected. Treated water is disinfected with chlorine to remove all harmful bacteria and viruses. Residual chlorine in the water keeps the water germ-free and safe for direct drinking. This practise is in line with WHO’s recommendation to maintain a chorine residual throughout the distribution system to ensure water safety. The amount of residual chlorine in our tap water is well within the WHO’s limit of 5.0mg/litre.

Our tap water is suitable for drinking without the need for boiling or further filtration. PUB discourages the use of filtration devices as bacteria will grow on the filters if they are not kept clean, maintained or replaced regularly. To avoid misleading the public, suppliers and water filter companies are reminded not to make false claims on the effects of chlorine on humans and PUB water when promoting their products.

The public can be assured that PUB maintains a comprehensive water monitoring programme that starts from the raw water in the reservoir all the way to the customers’ tap, to ensure that only safe and clean water is supplied to the public. Over 450,000 tests are conducted annually on more than 300 parameters, surpassing some 130 parameters specified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the WHO. Water samples are taken daily from the distribution network and customers' taps at various locations throughout the island and tested to ensure that good water quality is maintained during distribution.

Members of the public can refer to PUB’s website or call PUB’s 24-hour call centre at 1800-CALL-PUB1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255782) for more information.

Lim Mong Hoo
Director,Water Quality
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency
Water Goes Through Stringent Tests from Source to Tap

We thank Mr Wong Chee Meng for his letter “How did PUB conduct tests to ensure water safety?” (Straits Times, 23 April 2019).

PUB takes water quality in Singapore very seriously. We have a comprehensive and robust sampling and monitoring system to ensure our tap water is clean, wholesome and safe for direct consumption. Our water quality is closely monitored and tested at every step - from the source including reservoirs and seawater, to the treatment process (including membrane systems) in the waterworks and desalination plants, and the water supply in the distribution network. Water samples from consumer’s taps are also tested daily.

All water produced by our waterworks and plants is tested to ensure that it meets our stringent water quality requirements before being supplied to consumers. Any water, including those from Tuaspring Desalination Plant, that does not fulfil our water quality requirements will be rejected and not supplied. Singapore’s water quality is thus perfectly safe for drinking directly from the tap without any further filtering or treatment.

Singapore’s tap water has consistently passed the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality. We conduct over 400,000 water quality tests annually on more than 300 parameters, surpassing some 100 parameters specified by the WHO.

Lim Mong Hoo Director,
Water Quality Department PUB,
Singapore's National Water Agency

Cleaning frequency to be increased at floating wetlands at Jurong Lake

We thank Mr Wong Lai Fa for his feedback on the lighting and litter issues at the floating wetlands boardwalk, which is part of ABC Waters @ Jurong Lake.

We noted that the visitorship to the floating wetlands has increased in the past few months. We will step up the frequency of cleaning and will be adding more rubbish bins to encourage proper disposal by visitors.

Repair works are in progress for the boardwalk lighting, and will be completed this week.

For any future queries, the public may call PUB’s 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-2255-782 or email us at pub_qsm@pub.gov.sg.

Goh Chong Hoon 吴宗训
Senior Deputy Director (Reservoir Management), Catchment and Waterways Department 高级副署长(蓄水池管理)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

Building owners are responsible for maintenance of their service pipes

We thank Mr Abu Mansor for his letter, “Wastage: Leaking pipe not fixed” (13 January 2021).

Upon receiving the feedback from Mr Mansor on 15 December 2020, PUB service crew went on site to Pandan Avenue and Pandan Road to investigate on the same day. However, the crew was unable to locate any pipe leak after checking all PUB’s pipes, valves and bulk meters in the vicinity. They tried contacting Mr Mansor several times to find out the precise location of the leak but were unable to reach him.

On 13 January 2021, PUB contacted Mr Mansor who provided additional information on the specific location of the leak. Our service crew went on site immediately and found the leaking service pipe belonging to a commercial building along Pandan Avenue. PUB informed the building management to repair the leak and the leak was rectified on the same day. PUB has updated Mr Mansor on the completed repair works and thank him for his feedback and assistance.

Under the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, premise owners are responsible for the proper maintenance of their service pipes and to ensure that there are no leaks. Any pipe leaks should be repaired promptly.

We encourage members of the public to contact PUB’s 24 hour call centre at 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782) to report any pipe leaks.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Rubbish bins at MacRitchie Reservoir Park cleared regularly

We thank Mr Chin Kee Thou for his feedback (Not enough rubbish bins at MacRitchie, 16 Feb 2022).

There are a total of 22 rubbish bins situated at popular locations around MacRitchie Reservoir Park – the majority of them are monkey-proof bins with heavy lids to prevent monkeys from opening them, which are cleared twice daily. We have also installed six "smart" bins equipped with sensors for remote monitoring of the bins' capacity, and cleaners are activated to empty a smart bin immediately once it reaches 80 per cent capacity.

Over the Chinese New Year period, PUB received increased feedback on littering within the park and has worked with our cleaning contractor to increase the clearing frequency of the bins and their surrounding area.

We encourage park-goers to dispose their trash into the bins as there were instances when trash was scattered around bins that were not full. Let’s keep our parks clean and litter-free for all to enjoy.

Cheng Geok Ling (Ms)
Chief Engineer (Urban Liveability)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Multi-functional and sustainable solutions key part of Singapore’s coastal protection efforts

We thank Mr Ryan Pang for his feedback on the need for more sustainable solutions for coastal protection (16 Nov 2023).

As Singapore’s national coastal protection agency, PUB is working with various stakeholders to develop effective measures that can protect our coastline from the impact of sea level rise and climate change.

Since May 2021, we have progressively commenced studies on different sections of Singapore’s coastline to understand their site characteristics and the types of potential coastal protection measures. These include the City-East Coast, North-west Coast and Jurong Island. Where feasible, we aim to develop solutions that can be integrated with existing developments and land use plans to achieve multiple benefits, such as co-location with recreational spaces for the community. One example is the Marina Barrage, a popular recreation venue which also serves its main purpose of keeping out seawater while enhancing flood protection in downtown Singapore.

Coastal cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong have demonstrated that there is scope to balance environmental sustainability with the need for practical engineering measures to keep out the rising seas. This is achieved through hybrid solutions that combine nature elements, including planting of mangroves, seagrass or vegetation, with coastal infrastructure such as seawalls and revetments. While hybrid solutions can help enhance biodiversity, we must consider their suitability taking into account the site conditions along our coastline.

Earlier this year, PUB launched Singapore’s first research programme dedicated to coastal protection and flood management. It will foster greater collaboration across academia and the industry, spurring the growth of a vibrant research ecosystem. Under this programme, the Coastal Protection and Flood Resilience Institute Singapore was established as a multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary research centre, bringing together the strengths of our local universities and research institutes to develop innovative and sustainable solutions and build a pipeline of coastal protection talent.

Ms Hazel Khoo
Director, Coastal Protection Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Rusted and damaged railings should be replaced

We thank Mr Xu for his feedback (“Rusted and damaged railings should be replaced”) 交流站:应更换生锈破损排水沟栏杆, 17 Nov 2022).

PUB carries out maintenance of drains and their appurtenances, including railings, as part of our routine inspections to ensure that they are able to function effectively and are safe for the public.

Mr Xu is referring to the stretch of railings along Bukit Batok East Avenue 2, Avenue 4 and Hillview Avenue, which covers 2.4 km along both sides of canal over four estates. Although some of the railings have peeled-off paint and rust, we would like to assure him that the railings have been inspected to be functional and safe.

We have been progressively replacing the railings in the four estates since 2021, as part of PUB’s ongoing railing replacement programme. The railings at Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 and Avenue 4 have already been replaced with the new railings. For the stretch of railings along Hillview Avenue, they will be replaced by February 2023. The new railings are also made of aluminium and will be more corrosion resistant and durable.

Goh Chong Hoon 吴宗训
Chief Engineer, Catchment and Waterways Department 总工程师 (集水区与水道署)
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency 公用事业局

Installed Features Prevent People Getting Closer to Water

We thank Ms Clara Ng for her feedback “Installed Features Prevent People Getting Closer to Water, 18 Aug 2022”. We are glad that Ms Ng enjoys spending time at PUB’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) sites.

The ABC Waters programme is PUB’s initiative to integrate drains, canals and reservoirs holistically into the urban environment with community spaces for all to enjoy. ABC Waters projects are rolled out progressively in conjunction with drainage improvement works.

PUB plans to improve the entire Bedok Canal progressively to increase the drainage capacity to cope with more intense rainfall and enhance the flood protection for the surrounding area.

We are currently upgrading the section of Bedok Canal between Upper Changi Road East and Bedok Junction and have incorporated ABC Waters enhancements along the canal to create new community spaces for the residents. As each ABC Waters site is different, the designs will also differ depending on several factors, such as site conditions and the safety of park users.

At Bedok Canal, the height of the railings installed along the canal are at the standard height of 1.1m. The railings along the footbridge across the canal on elevated ground are at 1.4m to protect both cyclists and pedestrians. The grey granolithic floor-screed was designed to provide slip resistance and safety for users.

PUB and NParks will endeavour to design and maintain each of our ABC Waters site with care so that members of the public can continue to enjoy these community spaces.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Lew Chee Keong
Director, Facilities Management
National Parks Board

Gravel path at Pandan Reservoir a maintenance track for vehicular access

We thank Mr Leong Horn Kee for his letter “Reservoir area could be improved, 19 August 2022” .

The gravel track on the crest of Pandan Reservoir Dyke is a maintenance track used by PUB and our contractors for vehicular access to carry out maintenance works around the reservoir. Trees and shrubs are also not planted on the dyke to maintain the integrity of the dyke.

Jogging and cycling are allowed on the gravel track to provide community and recreational space to residents in the nearby estates. Residents can also utilise the nearby park connector networks (PCN) around Pandan Gardens and the West Coast area for recreation. We also welcome members of the public to visit the nearby Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) sites at Sungei Pandan, Sungei Ulu Pandan or Jurong Lake to enjoy the beautiful waterbodies and community spaces.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

PUB works with stakeholders to highlight importance of keeping waterways clean

We thank Mr Hong Tianming for his valuable feedback on the need for public stewardship of Singapore’s waterways and reservoirs (“国人不应污染水沟”, 19 Oct 2023).

Over the years, Singapore has developed an extensive network of about 8,000km of waterways and 17 reservoirs to expand our water catchment areas and meet our water supply needs.

Mr Hong has rightly pointed out that our drains and waterways serve important functions. They channel rainwater to the reservoirs before it is treated to become drinking water supplied to our homes. The effective conveyance of stormwater is also critical to prevent flooding during heavy rainstorms.

Collective efforts from everyone are necessary to keep our waterways free flowing and clean from pollution. As part of our public education efforts, PUB has involved the local community including schools, residents, and organisations to raise awareness on the importance of keeping our waterways clean. Our Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme was also launched in 2006 to bring the public closer to water and foster stronger stewardship of our waterways. Since then, we have transformed many of our utilitarian drains and canals into beautiful spaces that integrate seamlessly with our living environment. Signages placed at these sites also remind people to take care of our precious water resources.

PUB will continue to work with relevant authorities and local community to educate the public on the importance of keeping our waterways clean and free flowing. Together, we can protect the quality of our water supply, and help prevent the occurrence of flash floods during intense rain.

Mr Yeo Keng Soon 杨庆舜
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department 署长, 集水区与水道署
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

Building owners have to maintain service pipes (Published date: 16 Jan 2021)

We thank Mr Abu Mansor for his letter (Wastage: Leaking pipe not fixed, Jan 13).

On receiving the feedback from Mr Mansor on Dec 15 last year, PUB service crew went to Pandan Avenue and Pandan Road to investigate on the same day.

However, the crew was unable to locate any pipe leak after checking all of PUB's pipes, valves and bulk meters in the vicinity. They tried contacting Mr Mansor several times to find out the precise location of the leak, but were unable to reach him.

On Jan 13, PUB contacted Mr Mansor, who provided additional information on the specific location of the leak. Our service crew went on site immediately and found the leaking service pipe belonging to a commercial building along Pandan Avenue.

PUB informed the building management to repair the leak and the leak was rectified on the same day. PUB has updated Mr Mansor on the completed repair works and thanks him for his feedback and assistance.

Under the Public Utilities (Water Supply) Regulations, owners of premises are responsible for the proper maintenance of their service pipes and to ensure that there are no leaks. Any pipe leaks should be repaired promptly.

We encourage members of the public to contact PUB's 24-hour call centre on 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782) to report any pipe leaks.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Promoting water conservation a key facet of PUB's work (Published date: 24 Feb 2021)

We thank Mr Seah Yam Meng, Mr Philip Siow, Mr Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar, Mr Tan Kim Hock and Mr Foo Kwang Sai for their feedback and suggestions on desalination and water conservation (Focus on desalination as main tap, Feb 8; Public action must complement government efforts, Feb 12; Cost not the only factor to consider with desalination, Feb 12; Small household habits can add up to a lot, Feb 16; Offer rebates to those who use less, Feb 16).

It is heartening to know that water sustainability is a topic that is close to the heart of many and that there is strong awareness that we must never take water for granted.

PUB is committed to ensuring a diversified and sustainable water supply through our four national taps: catchment water, imported water, Newater and desalinated water.

Newater and desalinated water have become increasingly important as they are weather-resilient sources that strengthen Singapore's water security especially in the face of climate change. Our fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island is targeted to be ready later this year.

Construction is ongoing for the second phase of PUB's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System - due to be completed by 2025 - which will further boost Singapore's used-water recycling rate and enhance our ability to produce Newater.

But even as we continue to build up our water production capabilities, demand for water will inexorably increase. Promoting water conservation remains a key issue that PUB has invested considerable effort, in the form of public education campaigns aimed at forging a strong water-saving culture in Singapore, and forums for industries to share their experiences in water recycling.

PUB has stepped up its efforts to reach out to households, businesses, industries and the young.

Since 2007, more than 350 industries and businesses have reduced their water demand by up to 50 per cent through recycling efforts and water-efficient processes.

It is important that children cultivate good water habits from a young age. We have worked closely with schools to hold water rationing exercises during our annual water conservation campaign, with students from over 100 schools taking part in March 2019.

We recently launched a new mascot Water Sally alongside the iconic Water Wally, and a new storybook series to be distributed to close to 1,800 pre-schools for storytelling sessions in class. We also collaborated with renowned children's education brand Pinkfong to produce a song to reinforce the value of water.

Over the last two decades, we have made significant strides in encouraging households to reduce their water consumption. In 2019, daily consumption stood at 141 litres per person. The goal is to reduce this to 130 litres by 2030.

This year, PUB's water conservation campaign next month will focus on climate change and its impact on Singapore's water sustainability. As pointed out by Mr Tan, every little bit helps - even small habits like turning off the shower while soaping can make a difference. Every individual can play a part to strengthen Singapore's climate resilience by using water wisely and making every drop count.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency


Pedestrian safety a consideration when installing drain railings (Published date: 13 Sept 2021)

We thank Mr Gopinath Menon for his feedback (Have railings for open drains to protect pedestrians when flooding occurs, Sept 7).

Under PUB's Code of Practice on Surface Water Drainage, railings must be installed at all open drains with a depth of more than 1m.

In addition, we regularly review the need to install railings at locations with high pedestrian traffic or within flood-prone areas, even if the existing open drains there are less than 1m in depth.

Examples of such locations include Marigold Drive, Zion Road and Lorong Buangkok.

PUB also considers public feedback and will install railings where feasible to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

When reconstructing open roadside drains as part of our ongoing work to upgrade Singapore's drainage infrastructure, PUB converts them into covered drains - which also double as footpaths - to optimise land use.

To facilitate maintenance access for covered drains, metal gratings or covers are installed along footpaths. These are fastened securely and are unlikely to be dislodged during flooding.

PUB will continue to review drain railing installations at different locations to enhance pedestrians' safety.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

PUB replaces old drain gratings progressively as part of drainage maintenance and upgrading works

We refer to the letter by Yao Qiliu (“排水口格栅旁有缝隙”, 22 Sep 2022).

PUB has been progressively replacing existing on-road drain gratings as part of our drainage maintenance and upgrading works. Besides ensuring that these can effectively channel away stormwater from road surfaces, we also adopt the latest design to enhance safety for road users.

Replacement of the drain gratings is done in accordance with the latest design and standards, last revised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2011. The new design has grating bars that are perpendicular to traffic flow, and closer spacing between the drain grating and the road. This new grating design has been applied to all new road construction and drainage upgrading projects, and serves to reduce the risk of cycling accidents. Since 2011, PUB has replaced approximately 270,000 drain gratings with the improved design through our drainage upgrading works.

PUB will continue to work with the relevant authorities to review the current approach and prioritisation of upgrading works, and enhance public safety.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Singapore’s water management system is innovative and land-efficient

We thank Mr Wu for his suggestion on adopting new used water recycling technology and optimising space by housing treatment facilities underground, citing a successful example in Shenzhen, China.

In Singapore, the same approach towards technological innovation and land efficiency applies in the planning and implementation of water infrastructure. Notably, we have transformed the way we manage our used water system with the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS). Underground tunnels convey used water entirely via gravity to centralised water reclamation plants located near the coast, away from the city and residential areas.

The DTSS has been crucial in freeing up additional space previously occupied by used water infrastructure for other uses. When completed by 2026, it will result in total land savings of 150 hectares – nearly twice the size of the Singapore Botanic Gardens – by removing intermediate pumping stations and decentralised waste reclamation plants. For example, land that was housing the aged Seletar Water Reclamation Plant is now part of the Seletar Aerospace Park, a thriving aerospace cluster that has attracted over $1.5 billion worth of investments.

At our water reclamation plants, we have also leveraged new technologies to increase treatment capacity of used water while reducing our overall land footprint. With the use of new technologies, such as membrane bio-reactors, we have more than doubled treatment capacity while occupying a similar footprint of about 40 hectares at the Changi Water Reclamation Plant, compared to an older conventional plant in Ulu Pandan.

More importantly, the treated effluent is further purified into NEWater, Singapore's third National Tap. Recycling water in an endless loop has been a game-changer as it allows us to strengthen Singapore’s water resilience, especially amid the challenge of climate change.

In land-scarce Singapore, PUB has made it a point to incorporate multi-functional design into our water infrastructure where feasible. The Marina Barrage exemplifies this approach with its 3-in-1 benefits – besides serving its primary purpose of creating a freshwater reservoir in the city for water supply, it alleviates flooding in the low-lying areas of the city while also serving as a popular recreation venue for families.

Mr Yong Wei Hin 杨卫兴
Director, Water Reclamation (Plants) Department 署署长, 供水回收(水厂)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

PUB replaces old drain gratings progressively as part of drainage maintenance and upgrading works

We refer to the letter by Mr Danny Chow, “Cost should not be obstacle to preventing accidents” (Sept 28).

PUB has been progressively replacing existing on-road drain gratings as part of our drainage maintenance and upgrading works. Besides ensuring that these can effectively channel away stormwater from road surfaces, we also adopt the latest design to enhance safety for road users.

Replacement of the drain gratings is done in accordance with the latest design and standards, last revised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2011.

The new design has grating bars that are perpendicular to traffic flow, and closer spacing between the drain grating and the road. This new grating design has been applied to all new road construction and drainage upgrading projects, and serves to reduce the risk of cycling accidents.

Since 2011, PUB has replaced about 270,000 drain gratings with the improved design through our drainage upgrading works.

PUB will continue to work with the relevant authorities to review the current approach and prioritisation of upgrading works, and enhance public safety. We would also like to remind cyclists to exercise vigilance when cycling on the roads to stay safe.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Households that are more water efficient pay less

We thank Mr Christopher Leong Chi How for his feedback on the water tariff (Water tariff should be based on number of people in a household, Sept 30).

In Singapore, we price every drop of water to reflect its true cost. To encourage water conservation, we apply a higher-tier tariff only to water use that far exceeds the average household consumption. Currently, the higher tariff is set at a threshold of 40 cubic m of water per month.

Over 96 per cent of households in Singapore use less than 40 cubic m of water per month. In fact, a typical household of four uses an average of about 18 cubic m monthly.

A higher water tariff is applied only to the amount of water used above the 40-cubic m threshold. This is intended to send a strong signal against excessive use of water. All households pay the same tariff rate for the first 40 cubic m.

Households with the same number of people that are more careful with their water usage will pay less based on the amount of water used.

Given that the majority of households consume less than 40 cubic m a month and do not pay the higher-tier water tariff, we do not plan to adopt per capita charging that would incur higher administrative costs, which would ultimately be borne by all consumers, including more water-efficient households.

While we adopt right-pricing of water for all, targeted support is provided to lower- and middle-income households.

Besides the additional support measures announced recently by the Government to offset HDB households’ utilities bills, the Climate Friendly Households Programme will also be enhanced to include more efficient water fittings that can be bought with the vouchers. This will support households in achieving water savings.

Households can adopt simple habits, such as washing clothes on a full load and turning off the shower while soaping, to reduce daily water usage and their expenses on water.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Policy & Planning
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Different railing design due to safety concerns

We thank Mr Yao Qiliu for his feedback in his letter (“Coordinate materials and design to save public funds” 交流站:材料与设计应划一以节省公款, 4 November 2022). Public agencies do adopt the same design standards for common features, which may be updated over time.

The railings along the different sides of the open drain connecting Jalan Keli to Sin Ming Road were installed or upgraded at different points. While it originally had galvanised mild steel railings that run parallel on both sides, a short section of aluminium railing along the width of the drain was subsequently installed, in line with updated design standards, after the construction of a footpath across the drain.

In 2019, as part of planned upgrading works, PUB noted from public feedback and consultation with the Land Transport Authority that the adjacent footpath on one side of the drain is frequented by cyclists. To enhance safety, we installed higher 1.4m steel railings in line with the design update for public safety. As the existing galvanised mild steel railings on the other side of the drain were still in good condition, PUB took a prudent approach by retaining these railings to save public funds.

Lee Cai Jie 李才杰
Chief Engineer, Catchment & Waterways Department 总工程师 (集水区与水道署)
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency 公用事业局

Pedestrian safety a consideration when installing drain railings

We thank Mr Gopinath Menon for his feedback ("Have railings for open drains to protect pedestrians when flooding occurs", 7 Sept 2021).

Under PUB’s Code of Practice on Surface Water Drainage, railings must be installed at all open drains with a depth of more than 1 metre. In addition, we regularly review the necessity of installing railings at locations with high pedestrian traffic or within flood prone areas, even if the existing open drains there are less than 1 metre in depth.

Examples of such locations include Marigold Drive, Zion Road and Lorong Buangkok. PUB also considers public feedback and will install railings where feasible to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

When reconstructing open roadside drains as part of our ongoing work to upgrade Singapore's drainage infrastructure, PUB converts them into covered drains – which also double as footpaths – to optimise land use.

To facilitate maintenance access for covered drains, metal gratings or covers are installed along footpaths. These are fastened securely and are unlikely to be dislodged during flooding. PUB will continue to review drain railing installations at different locations to enhance pedestrians’ safety.

Yeo Keng Soon
Director, Catchment and Waterways Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

Run-off at waterplay caused by high water pressure

We thank Mr Lee Ser Wei for his feedback on water run-off from the Play @ Heights Park in Toa Payoh.

PUB and Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council jointly conducted on-site checks and determined that the water run-off into the drain is due to high water pressure at one of the park’s water features. The town council has adjusted the water pressure to rectify this issue.

In Singapore, waterplays and water features use potable water. They are designed as closed systems to facilitate recycling and conserve water.

James Koh
Chief Engineer Water Supply Network Department
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency

Fen Ng
Manager Corporate Communications
Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council

Promoting water conservation a key facet of PUB's work

We thank the writers Mr Seah Yam Meng, Mr Philip Siow, Mr Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar, Mr Tan Kim Hock and Mr Foo Kwang Sai for their feedback and suggestions on desalination and water conservation. It is heartening to know that water sustainability is a topic that is close to the heart for many and the strong awareness that we must never take water for granted. PUB is committed to ensuring a diversified and sustainable water supply through our Four National Taps – catchment water, imported water, NEWater and desalinated water. NEWater and desalinated water have become increasingly important as they are weather-resilient sources that strengthen Singapore’s water security especially in the face of climate change. Our fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island is targeted to be ready later this year. Construction is ongoing for the second phase of PUB's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System – due to be completed by 2025 – which will further boost Singapore's used water recycling rate and enhance our ability to produce NEWater.

But even as we continue to build up our water production capabilities, demand for water will inexorably increase. Promoting water conservation remains a key issue that PUB has invested considerable effort, in the form of public education campaigns aimed at forging a strong water-saving culture in Singapore, and forums for industries to share their experiences in water recycling.

PUB has stepped up our efforts to reach out to households, businesses, industries and the youth. Since 2007, more than 350 industries and businesses have reduced their water demand by up to 50% through recycling efforts and water-efficient processes.

It is important that children cultivate good water habits from a young age. We worked closely with schools to hold water rationing exercises during our annual water conservation campaign, with students from over 100 schools taking part in March 2019. We recently launched a new mascot Water Sally alongside the iconic Water Wally, and a new storybook series to be distributed to close to 1,800 pre-schools for storytelling sessions in class. We also collaborated with renowned children’s education brand Pinkfong to produce a song to reinforce the value of water.

Over the last two decades, we have made significant strides in encouraging households to reduce their water consumption. In 2019, daily consumption stood at 141 litres per person. The goal is to reduce this to 130 litres by 2030. This year, PUB’s water conservation campaign in March will focus on climate change and its impact on Singapore’s water sustainability. As pointed out by Mr Tan, every little bit helps – even small habits like turning off the shower while soaping can make a difference. Every individual can play our part to strengthen Singapore’s climate resilience by using water wisely and making every drop count.

Ridzuan Ismail
Director, Water Supply (Network) Department
PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency