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water security

The government believes everyone in Singapore has a stake in water — as a necessary resource, an economic asset and an “environmental treasure”.

collected in artificial reservoirs, accounts for

In Morocco, for example, steel poles, hung

around 20% of the nation’s water supply;

with black polymer nets, are harvesting con-

reclaimed water, or what the Singaporeans

densed fog from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

call ‘NEWater’, meets 30% of demand; while

The technology, designed by researchers at

seawater desalination provides a further 10%.

the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The remainder is imported from neighbour-

(MIT) School of Engineering in the United

ing Malaysia.

States, has been rolled out in countries as

The first production plant for recycled

In Saudi Arabia the $9.4 billion desalina-

four-stage treatment process — conventional

tion plant on the Persian Gulf covers miles

combined with microfiltration, reverse osmo-

of oceanfront real estate, and pumps more

sis and UV treatments — means the water is

than seven million litres of potable water

drinkable. Singapore’s first desalination plant

into Riyadh each day. Saudi Arabia leads

opened in 2005, with another plant of double

the pack in the desalination race and now

capacity currently in construction. Singapore’s

contributes 18% of the world’s desalinated

water catchment area has also expanded

water.

over the last five years — and now covers

And in New York, two alternatives to

two-thirds of the city-state’s land surface

conventional rooftop surfaces are being

areas — with the completion of the Marina,

tested — green roofs to absorb stormwater

Punggol and Serangoon Reservoir in 2011.

runoff and blue roofs to capture it. Water

Public education campaigns have also made

from blue roofs is being used to supply

their mark, with consumption falling from

irrigation, cooling systems and a host of

165 litres per person per day in 2003 to

other non-potable uses.

155 litres in 2009. The government’s target is

While there are innovative water-wise

140 litres by 2030. Practical schemes, such

projects abroad, there are also inspiring

as water efficiency labelling for taps, show-

case studies closer to home. And these case

erheads, toilets and washing machines, have

studies are being found in unexpected places.

also helped consumers make informed choices.

In Queensland’s Nebo, for example, a

Singapore’s ultimate goal is to be self-

large maintenance facility for coal trains is

sufficient, with 40% of water from recycling,

harvesting and recycling 85% of the water

30% from desalination and 20% from rain-

captured on-site, thanks to a range of clever

water collection.

strategies implemented by NDY. Rainwater is

The Singaporean Government continues to

collected and treated using three independent

invest in R&D to identify more cost-effective

filtration systems — and as a result is clean

ways of treating, recycling and supplying wa-

enough to drink. Wastewater from the sticky

ter. It is building a reputation as a ‘hydrohub’

coal dump pit is treated and re-used in the

for water science and technology, and is

locomotive washdown area. And an aerobic

contributing expertise to large water projects

system treats all blackwater, which is then

in China. The government believes everyone

re-used for toilet flushing. Together, these

in Singapore has a stake in water — as a

initiatives ensure the facility can operate

necessary resource, an economic asset and

without being reliant on mains water.

an “environmental treasure”.

www.SustainabilityMatters.net.au

diverse as Eritrea, Chile and Yemen.

water opened in 2002. Using an innovative

Meanwhile, an upgrade to the Metricon

Australia can learn from the lessons of

Stadium at the Gold Coast in preparation

other nations whose battle with scarcity has

for the Commonwealth Games has de-

led them to diversify their water sources

livered water tanks with a total capacity

and adopt innovative capture techniques.

of 650,000 litres. This is complemented

Apr/May 2017 - Sustainability Matters 9

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Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...