Keppel has beaten 15 local and international bidders for a contract to build Singapore’s fourth desalination plant at Marina East.

Keppel will form a company to sign a water purchase agreement with PUB, Singapore’s water agency, by end of January 2017. The agreement will cover water supply to PUB for 25 years from 2020 to 2045, with a price in the first year of $1.07867 a cubic metre.

The plant, with capacity of 30 million gallons a day (137,000 m3/d), will supply water demand zones in the city and eastern Singapore, and treat seawater and freshwater from Marina Reservoir, using reverse osmosis and other advanced membrane technology.

It will be built under a design, build, own, operate contract. Keppel Seghers will deliver the turnkey construction and commissioning, and Keppel Infrastructure Services will operate the plant.

“The Marina East Desalination Plant is an iconic project given its requirements of treating both reservoir water and seawater,” said Keppel Infrastructure chief executive Dr Ong Tiong Guan.

PUB deputy chief executive of policy and development, Chua Soon Guan, added: “Desalinated water is an important part of our water supply portfolio. It is resilient against the vagaries of climate change and bolsters our water supply against prolonged periods of dry spells and droughts. We plan to expand desalination capacity to meet up to 30 per cent of our future water needs.”

Desalination currently meets 25 per cent of Singapore’s water demand, with the rest coming from local catchment water, imported water, and water reuse.