Global Water Scarcity?

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Beingone of the most affluent city-states in the world, Singapore is also touted as being one of the world’s cleanest and safest cities. However, the prosperity and economic boom are unable

to mask one of Singapore’s most pressing problems: it simply does not have enough water to meet its needs. The city-state has to import several millions of liters of fresh water from neighboring Malaysia via pipelines. In fact, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has officially classified the island state as “water poor.” Alternatives are urgently needed.

In 2003, the NEWater Project was launched. It involves recycling wastewater to highly purified water that even exceeds FAO’s safety standards, providing a more cost-efficient and eco-friendly solution. The majority of what’s produced is consumed by industry or by big cooling facilities. The rest is combined with nutrient-rich reservoir water, purified again and filled into bottles. Around five percent of tap water in Sinapore comes from NEWater. During the dry months, the reserves in Singapore’s rainwater reservoirs fall rapidly and officials have to supplement the supply with greywater. With NEWater, the city-state is less dependent on the weather.

To date, the initiative already supplies around one third of the country’s water demand, and that number is expected to grow to more than half by the year 2060.

In 2061, the Singapore’s 100-year water contract with Malaysia will cease. Before that deadline, the government intends to be totally water independent with the help of NEWater.

(Adapted from

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