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26 Sept 2019

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-PUB (1800-2255782) for more information.

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

19 July 2019

First Youth Symposium on Sustainable Water Future

Turn on a tap, and clean water flows out, as much as we want, anytime we want. It is easy to forget that Singapore’s journey to provide secure and sustainable water did not come easy. As a country with no natural water resources and limited land to catch and store rainwater, it is important that we do not take our water for granted, and we continue to educate our young to cherish and value this precious resource.

On 10 July 2019, over 200 students from 11 secondary schools, junior colleges and polytechnics participated in the Singapore Youth Water Conference (SYWC). Organised by Raffles Institution and supported by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, this inaugural conference aims to create a deeper awareness and knowledge of water security and sustainability issues among our youths.

The Conference kicked off with keynote speeches by Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive of PUB and Professor Asit K. Biswas, Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Glasgow, followed by a dialogue session. Mr Ng impressed upon the students that total water demand is projected to double from the current 430 million gallons of water per day by 2061, and that is water that we do not have today. As such, we need to find alternative sources of water, such as the sewers (water reclamation) and the sea (desalination).

“First of all, we have to maximise our yield, we strive to collect every drop of water that falls on Singapore. Second, we have to think of water as an endlessly reusable resource. Water can always be reclaimed and retreated so that it can be drunk again. Today, we are able to literally turn dirty toilet water into sweet water. Third, because Singapore is surrounded by the sea, we can desalinate salty seawater and make it drinkable.”


Keynote address by Mr Ng Joon Hee, Chief Executive of PUB

Professor Asit K. Biswas, Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Glasgow, gave an overview of the global water situation and shared how Cambodia, China and India dealt with their respective water challenges. He also cited Singapore as one of the leaders in urban water management.

Professor Asit noted that many countries lacked sufficient water for drinking, agriculture and industrial development due to lack of proper water management. To that end, political will and sustained public action are important in ensuring water resilience and sustainability.

“The world does not have a water problem; it has a water management problem,” he said.

The students had an engaging and candid dialogue session with the panellists, who were experts in their respective water-related fields, such as policy, governance, advocacy and business, on the issue that is close to everyone’s hearts – will we ever run out of water? Participants raised questions and shared their thoughts on water security, ways to reduce water consumption, water price and many others.


Students sharing their thoughts on water sustainability at the Singapore Water Youth Conference 2019


Panel members at the Singapore Youth Water Conference. From left: Mr Eugene Heng, CEO, Waterway Watch Society; Mr Charles Quek, Vice-President of Singapore Water Association, CEO of HSL Constructor Pte Ltd; Professor Asit K. Biswas, Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Glasgow; Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive of PUB and Dr Cecilia Tortajada, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School.

Students showcase water-related projects at school exhibition

The conference also saw the showcase of innovative projects undertaken by the students to explore new solutions to water challenges and sharing of water conservation messages.

For example, one team from Raffles Institution looked into the water retention capacities of environmentally-friendly hydrogels, and it effectiveness in removing common pollutants in stormwater. Such hydrogels can be used in rain gardens and green roofs to manage stormwater runoff. A different team looked into the problem of textile industries causing water pollution by discharging wastewater with large amounts of textile dyes in the sea. They explored the effectiveness of the enzyme laccase (found in oyster mushrooms) to treat wastewater by degrading textile dyes.

Another team from Nanyang Polytechnic developed an educational card game to educate players on the water treatment process in Singapore. By understanding the challenges faced in the production of clean drinking water, these students hope to encourage players to take positive actions in water conservation after playing the game.


SYWC - Students sharing school projects 2 

Student from various schools sharing their projects with the participants of the conference.

On a whole, the students and panellists had a fruitful discussion and sharing of thoughts on the future of water at the Singapore Youth Water Conference. When asked about the key takeaway from the conference, one student shared that she now recognises how valuable water is, and the importance of sustainable water management not just for Singapore, but for the entire world.

Let us all work together to ensure that we will always have enough water and no one will ever have to go thirsty.

By Goh Xin Ying, 3P Network Department

21 June 2019

Singapore Junior Water Prize (SJWP) 2019

Ever heard of the Singapore Junior Water Prize? This local competition held annually in Singapore gathers creative young minds to come up with innovative water solutions, raise awareness and interest in water and environmental issues. The winning team of the national competition stands a chance to vie for the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize in Sweden – and represent Singapore on this prestigious platform!

Since its inception in 2008, the competition is in its 12th year run which has seen Singapore bag two victories at the Sweden competition in 2012 and 2018. This year, the national competition has received over 30 team entries and is proud to have Wang Haiyi – the winner of SJWP from National Junior College (NJC), to represent Singapore in Sweden this coming August.

“I feel honoured that I am able to represent Singapore to present my work. Looking back, it was a journey filled with uncertainties and challenges and I am truly grateful for constant help and invaluable advice from my mentor Dr Ren Yi from IMRE, A*STAR and my teacher advisor Dr Adrian Loh from NJC.”


Wang Haiyi from NJC, the winner of SJWP, with Dr Koh Tse Yuen, Deputy Director (Student Development) from Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Haiyi came up with a simple, yet novel idea to improve the regeneration process of absorbents in wastewater treatment. There has been intensive research on developing more efficient absorbents, but an apparent lack in reusing these absorbents for a more feasible and sustainable approach.  

“Sadly, there hasn't been much focus on reusing the exhausted adsorbent. This does not solve the problem at all as the pollutants are merely changed from liquid to solid phase. Therefore, I decided to embark on the journey of developing effective ways to reuse it.”


Wang Haiyi, presenting her project to the SJWP National Jury.

When asked how Dr Ren Yi, A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (Haiyi’s mentor) felt about her achievements:

“With little reference from literature, working on new regeneration processes for emerging adsorbent technology is challenging. Haiyi has planned it well. On one hand, she explored variables that could affect the novel electrochemical regeneration, and on the other hand, she studied and optimised the application of conventional thermal process for regeneration as a backup plan…she has overcome many difficulties in the project and her hard work led to the positive data in the development of the proposed technology. I am very proud of her achievement.”

The national competition also saw other interesting and notable ideas presented:





Students from various schools presenting their projects to the SJWP National Jury.

One team from ITE College East, noticed how most people have the wrong perception about the amount of ice cubes necessary to turn a beverage icy-cold. Their project titled ‘How Cold is Enough? Reduce Waste, Save Water, Energy and Money’ looks into how ice cubes often go to waste due to non-consumption and tries to determine the minimum amount of ice cubes needed to achieve acceptable coldness levels – which is usually lesser than perceived. 


Students Zhi Teng and Nur Shafiqah from ITE College East, whose project clinched Merit Prize at this year’s SJWP.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2019 will be taking place in Sweden this coming August, which will be graced by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Here’s wishing Haiyi all the best and we look forward to her competing meaningfully at an international level!

The Singapore Junior Water Prize is organised by the Lien Foundation, Sembcorp Industries and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, supported by PUB. Hop over here to find out more.

By Siow Ting Fong

17 May 2019