Water for All
Singapore's multi-disciplinary design for a sustainable water supply aims to make the island city-state self-reliant

Singapore doesn’t have much in the way of land and natural resources, says Yap Kheng Guan, Director of the Public Utilities Board’s (PUB) 3P Network for strategic communications and community relations. The nation has a population of about 4.8 million, and they have a big challenge in making sure there’s enough water for everybody.

The Water For All program identifies four key sources of water for Singapore, sometimes referred to in the PUB’s aggressive literature as the “Four National Taps”: water from local catchment areas, imported water, desalinated water and reclaimed or recycled water, called NEWater.

“What we have is what we call a ‘holistic’ water-management system. It starts with a look at all aspects of the water cycle and integrates it in a way that we optimize every drop of water that comes our way. Whether it’s rainwater or water after consumption, every drop of water is, as much as we can, honored and utilized.

To preserve rainwater, the agency has gone into areas that would not have been considered for water-catchment by conventional engineers. For example, they’ve looked at wastewater that would otherwise be thrown out to the sea. After collection, it’s purifed and then becomes another source of water.

“This design started off as a very practical thing: looking for enough water for a population that is growing,” Yap says. “But we’re also beginning now to realize the system has allowed us to go beyond function, beyond the practical side.”

“We’re very proud of the Marina Barrage. It’s a reservoir, but it’s proving itself a fantastic place for a family to go and enjoy themselves. It’s designed to support community events, chances to learn about environmental sustainability. You can just go and enjoy the scenery, absorb the ambiance.  It adds a lot to the quality of community life in Singapore.”

Designed by
PUB, The National Water Agency of Singapore - Singapore