In the quest for water security, desalination becomes both an answer and a problem

SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Like many land- and water-scarce countries, Singapore is proud of its desalination facilities. There are three plants in the southernmost part of its west coast, supplying 130 million gallons of water a day that can meet up to 30% of Singapore’s current water demand. Two more plants will be built by 2020, and the five plants will secure up to 30% of the city state’s water needs in 2060. Last year, national water agency PUB also announced plans for a new process that can cut the energy consumption of desalination plants by half, leading to cost savings.

The growth of Singapore’s desalination industry is crucial for the country’s water self-sufficiency. For a small and densely populated island, sources of clean water are limited even as demand grows. Currently, water recycling, which was initiated in 2003, can meet up to 40% of Singapore’s water requirements. The bulk of the country’s water supply, or 50% of current demand, comes from Malaysia. Reservoirs help make up the rest.

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