Singapore to build fourth desalination plant

Singapore’s national water agency, PUB, has tendered for the provision of consultancy services for a desalination plant in Marina East – the country’s fourth.

The proposed 150 Ml/d plant is required to shore up the country’s water security according to PUB. It will be completed in four to five years, said the agency. The tender includes the engineering design for the development of the plant under a Design-Build-Own-Operate contract.

Singapore’s agreement to buy water from Malaysia ends in 2061. By 2060, its water demand is expected to be about double the current 2 Gl/d.

PUB deputy chief executive, Chua Soon Guan, said the agency had invested in strengthening Singapore’s water security by building up and diversifying its water sources. He said: “Building up weather-resilient water sources will help us be better prepared for possible prolonged periods of dry spells in future.”

The latest announcement follows Singapore’s announcement six months ago of plans to build a third desalination plant – a 150 Ml/d facility at Tuas. It is scheduled for completion in 2017. Along with the proposed fourth plant, Singapore will be able to produce freshwater at 800 Ml/d through seawater desalination.

The fourth desalination plant is part of the Singapore government’s plan to ensure that it can meet 80% of its water demand through seawater desalination and wastewater treatment – under the country’s Newater scheme - by 2060.

A fifth Newater plant is expected to be completed by next year and will supply 250 Ml/d to Singapore’s water supply.

Last month, minister for the environment and water resources, Vivian Balakrishnan, highlighted how dry weather had reduced the water level at Johor’s Linggiu Reservoir to an all-time low of 54.5% of its capacity. The reservoir’s water level determines Singapore’s ability to draw water from Malaysia’s Johor River.

The Marina East desalination plant will be sited close to water demand in the city and eastern Singapore, and it will have the capability to treat freshwater from Marina Reservoir, PUB said.