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NEWater

The 3rd National Tap

The NEWater process recycles our treated used water into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water, cushioning our water supply against dry weather and moving Singapore towards water sustainability. 

Today, there are five NEWater plants supplying up to 40% of Singapore's current water needs. By 2060, NEWater is expected to meet up to 55% of Singapore’s future water demand.   

Journey of NEWater    

NEWater’s genesis dates back to the 1970s, when the Singapore government commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of producing reclaimed water. Although the study found it was technically possible, the technology’s high cost and unproven reliability then were insurmountable concerns.

By the 1990s, however, membrane technology’s cost and performance had improved considerably. Other countries such as the United States were also increasingly using it for water treatment and reclamation.

In 1998, PUB set up a team to test the latest proven membrane technology’s use in water reclamation for potable purposes. Two years later, it commissioned a full-scale demonstration plant that could produce 10,000 cubic metres daily.

The high-grade, reclaimed water was named NEWater, and a battery of tests and audits showed it was a safe and sustainable water source. 

An international group of experts in engineering, biomedical sciences, chemistry and water technology also found that NEWater’s quality was consistently safe and high, and well within the WHO and USEPA’s requirements for drinking water. They recommended it for indirect potable use, to be introduced into raw water reservoirs. The blended water undergoes naturalisation and further treatment in conventional waterworks to create drinking water.

In 2003, we launched NEWater to the Singaporean public, with the opening of the first two NEWater plants at Bedok and Kranji, and the NEWater Visitor Centre, a water museum to showcase our journey towards water sustainability. 

NEWater Visitor Centre

NEWater Technology

The Water Reclamation Plants collect and treat all the used water in Singapore in accordance to international standards. 

NEWater has also passed more than 150,000 scientific tests and is well within World Health Organisation requirements.

3-Step Treatment at NEWater Plants

  • Microfiltration: Microscopic particles including some bacteria are filtered out at this stage.
  • Reverse Osmosis: Undesirable contaminants are removed here. The water at this stage is high-grade water.
  • Ultraviolet Disinfection: The water passes through ultraviolet light to ensure any remaining organisms are eradicated. Chemicals are added to restore the pH balance. NEWater is now ready for use.  

View enlarged version >>NEWater Demographics

NEWater Usage

Non-Potable Use

As it is ultra-clean, NEWater is used mainly for industrial and air-con cooling purposes at wafer fabrication plants, industrial estates and commercial buildings. The biggest users of NEWater are wafer fabrication plants, which require water quality that is even more stringent than water for drinking.

NEWater is delivered to industrial customers via a dedicated pipe network.

Indirect Potable Use

During dry periods, NEWater is added to our reservoirs to blend with raw water. The raw water from the reservoir is treated at the waterworks before it is supplied to consumers as tap water.

External Audit

Twice a year, NEWater undergoes rigorous audit processes by an external audit panel comprising international experts in engineering, water chemistry, toxicology and microbiology.

This high-grade reclaimed water has consistently been awarded top marks for the high quality, safety and for exceeding international standards.