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Parliament Q&A

WRITTEN REPLY BY MR MASAGOS ZULKIFLI, MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES, TO PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION ON WATER EFFICIENCY, 6 AUGUST 2018

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) in the past three years, how effectively are firms meeting water efficiency benchmarks; (b) whether PUB will work closely with those that fail to achieve the benchmarks to help them reduce water wastage; (c) what is the status of the industry consultation on water efficiency practices; and (d) what else is the Ministry doing to keep water consumption manageable.

Reply:

As one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, water has always been an existential issue for Singapore. We need to invest ahead in weather-resilient water sources, and expand and renew our water infrastructure and network in a timely manner. But this is not enough. To ensure the long-term sustainability of our water resources, it is equally important that we manage demand and use water prudently.

2 The non-domestic sector currently makes up more than half of our total water demand, and this is projected to increase to about 70% in 2060. Companies must use water efficiently.

Mandatory Submission of Water Efficiency Management Plans

3 PUB requires large water users in the non-domestic sector to monitor their water usage through the installation of water meters and submit a water efficiency management plan annually. Through this process, companies can better understand their water usage patterns and identify ways to conserve water.

4 Since 2015, more than 600 large water users have been submitting their plans annually. This has given PUB insights into how various industries use water and enabled PUB to develop targeted initiatives. 

Industry-Specific Water Efficiency Benchmarks

5 During the Committee of Supply debate this year, I announced the launch of the Best Practice Guide on Water Efficiency for the Buildings sector. Another two guides - for the Wafer Fabrication and Semiconductor sector and the Refineries, Petrochemicals and Chemicals sector - were launched during the Singapore International Water Week last month. PUB has also developed water efficiency benchmarks for the office buildings, hotels, retail malls, wafer fabrication and semiconductor sectors. The series of consultations with industries and relevant stakeholders, as Er Dr Lee has mentioned, was instrumental to the development of these guides and benchmarks. PUB will continue to work closely with industries on water efficiency benchmarks and guides for other sectors.

Encouraging Water Efficiency Efforts in Businesses

6 Through these benchmarks and guides, companies can assess how well they fare relative to their peers and learn from best practices. As the benchmarks have just been published this year, PUB will monitor the performance of the companies and help them improve their water efficiency, especially those who fall below the median performance. Through one-to-one engagement sessions, PUB advises the companies on opportunities for water savings and offer customised expertise for water recycling and reuse projects.

7 To encourage companies to implement such projects, PUB provides funding support, such as the Water Efficiency Fund and the Industrial Water Solutions Demonstration Fund. Companies can tap on these funds to carry out water audits, water recycling, use of alternate sources of water, and the test-bedding of innovative water technologies.

8 Companies have responded positively, with a number looking to implement new water efficiency projects. For example, PUB has worked with and co-funded Micron Semiconductor Asia Pte Ltd to install a wastewater recycling plant this year. Once implemented, there will be an expected annual reduction of 400,000m3 in their NEWater demand.

9 To recognise exemplary companies, PUB introduced the Water Efficiency Awards in 2017 for companies who are within the top 10th percentile of the industry-specific benchmarks. Last year, 27 award recipients from seven industries were presented with these awards.

10 PUB is taking it one step further. From 2019, all large water users will need to appoint a certified water efficiency manager who has undergone training on how to conduct water audits and implement water efficiency measures. This will level up the capabilities of the industries in managing their water use.

11 Water is valuable and I urge all companies to look into water conservation efforts.  PUB stands ready to help companies in this.


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