What is Water Security in Singapore?

Tomal continues to expound on the hot topic of water security in Singapore.

The United Nations defines water security as “the capacity of a nation to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.” The United Nations highlights the need for governance,  peace and political stability, and adequate financing for the purpose of ensuring water security.

In 2014, Singapore was ranked as one of the most water-stressed countries in the world by the World Resource Institute.  Whilst the country needs to continue to ensure water security and sustainability to guarantee “national survival and economic prosperity”, Singapore continues to face major challenges. Its imported water is “under threat and steadily depleting”; the demand for water is expected to more than double by 2061; and the country is also exposed to the impacts of climate change. It also highlights the importance of keeping Singapore sustainable and resilient by managing water demand through pricing, mandatory measures, and water conservation practices.

Reference: Our water, our future. (2016). PUB. Retrieved February 22, 2017

Two such initiatives are: NEWater, which produces “high-grade recycled waste water” and meets about 30 percent of water demand; and ‘variable salinity plant’ (VSP), which processes brackish rainwater collected during the wet season and seawater desalination during the dry season. To address supply issues, it has implemented a demand management policy to encourage more efficient water usage through pricing, mandatory water conservation requirements and encouraging voluntarism. However, climate change, increasing energy costs, growing demand for water, and urbanisation continue to pose challenges in tackling the country’s water shortage.

Reference: Tackling Singapore’s water shortage. (2013). INSEAD. Retrieved February 22, 2017

With the above points on our water, and how Singapore is tackling it, water security issues remain a challenge for Singapore.

With this, we continue to explore more on the situation and will share more insights. Tomal takes a stand that as we continue to face water security issues, the key essential innovations will be a concerted effort with various sectors to innovate through the challenges.