MANAGING OUR WATER

Desalination

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Desalination
Desalination
  • The Issue
  • The Challenge
  • Our Efforts
  • Progress Update

THE ISSUE

OUR NATURAL SOURCES OF FRESH WATER ARE LIMITED

Desalination is the removal of excessive salt and minerals from seawater to make it potable.

Technological advances have made it viable for Singapore to use desalination as one of our Four National Taps since 2005. In Singapore, desalination is done through a process called reverse osmosis, which separates water from excessive salts and minerals. As desalination is not dependent on rainfall, it makes our water supply more stable regardless of weather conditions.

Desalination Issue

THE CHALLENGE

HIGH ENERGY USAGE AND POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

DESALINATED WATER IS COSTLY

Compared to treating rainwater to produce potable water, desalination is energy-intensive and relies on advanced membrane technology. This makes desalination a relatively expensive option.

POTENTIAL IMPACT ON MARINE ENVIRONMENT

After extracting fresh water from the sea water, the concentrated salt water and remaining minerals such as boron are discharged back into the sea. Enhanced mixing of the plant discharge with the surrounding seawater ensures that the concentration of salt and minerals will not adversely affect the marine habitats near the discharge points.

Desalination Challenge

OUR EFFORTS

TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES SOLUTIONS

SELECTING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY

To ensure that our desalination processes are as energy-efficient as possible, reverse osmosis membrane technology is used as it is reliable and efficient.

Both of our desalination plants are also public-private partnership (PPP) projects which enables us to tap on and grow private sector expertise to reap efficiencies in cost and technology.

LIMITING THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

We closely monitor the quality of sea water surrounding our desalination plants to make sure there is minimal impact on the marine environment.

Desalination Efforts

PROGRESS UPDATE

DESALINATION SET TO SUPPLY 30% OF WATER NEEDS

Our second desalination plant will be able to produce 70 million gallons of water a day. By 2060, our desalination capacity will have increased to the point where it will be able to meet up to 30 per cent of our water needs.

INCREASING ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF DESALINATION

Singapore’s first desalination plant uses just under 4kWh of electricity to produce each cubic metre of water. We are continuously seeking to lower this figure, for example through research projects funded by the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office to reduce energy consumption of desalination.

Desalination Progress

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