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NEWater to supply 30% of Singapore's water needs by 2011: PM

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
15 March 2007

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says NEWater will meet 30 percent of Singapore's water needs by 2011.

That is also when Singapore's first 1961 water agreement with Malaysia expires.

PM Lee was speaking at the opening of the Keppel Seghers Ulu Pandan NEWater plant on Thursday.

Drinking to the opening of the plant, Mr Lee also revealed the cost of NEWater will be cheaper from next month.

The current cost of NEWater is $1.15 per cubic metre.

From next month, it will be lowered by 15 cents to $1 per cubic metre.

The price has been lowered for several reasons - chief among them, a rising demand for NEWater and operational efficiency in the plants.

Mr Lee said the price reduction would benefit all NEWater customers and translate into lower business costs.

The Keppel Seghers Ulu Pandan NEWater plant is Singapore's fourth.

The other three are in Bedok, Kranji and Seletar.

PM Lee said: "Taken together, our four NEWater plants can meet more than 15 percent of Singapore's water demand today, well ahead of the original target date of 2010.

"To meet this growing demand, Ulu Pandan NEWater plant has expanded its capacity from 25 to 32 million gallons of water per day. And two other NEWater plants, Kranji and Bedok, have large-scale expansion plans.

"PUB will also bring forward the construction of the fifth NEWater factory at Changi which will produce 50 million gallons per day. Therefore, by 2011, our NEWater plants will have the combined capacity to meet 30 percent of Singapore's water needs, double the original target and this puts us in a strong position to meet any future uncertainties in water supply."

The Ulu Pandan NEWater plant is the largest in Singapore and the second biggest in the world, next to Kuwait.

The amount of NEWater produced by the Ulu Pandan plant can fill up 60 Olympic sized swimming pools.

This is also the first NEWater plant to be designed, built, owned and operated by the private sector, Keppel Seghers.

This plant will serve 200 new customers in areas like Tuas and Jurong.

Besides this public-and-private partnership in developing the plant, the Prime Minister said Keppel would be investing $50 million in an environmental R & D centre in Singapore.

Keppel Corporation's Executive Chairman, Lim Chee Oon, said: "We have recently established the Keppel Environmental Technology Centre or KETC to drive and direct research efforts through our centres of excellence. KETC will focus research efforts on energy recovery from solid waste treatment, minimising residual by-products from waste and waste-water treatment and membrane applications for producing water from non-conventional sources."

Currently, more than 300 companies have taken up NEWater.

About 80 of them, such as electronics companies, use NEWater for industrial purposes. - CNA/ir