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Investigation of Water Scarcity in Singapore

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Wong Shuang Qi (Kiki)

This study is going to take a close look at the current situation of the fresh water scarcity in Singapore and the government's enforcement on the potential solutions, like desalination or NEwater. The best option to the chronic water issue for increasing or decreasing the water demand and supply would be discussed in this topic and a proposed solution that suggested for the water problem in Singapore is a new technology called NEwater would be mentioned in conclusion. The hypothesis of the entire report is doing the decline of water demand and the climb of water supply at the same time.

1.0 Introduction

This scientific research is on the purpose of giving suggestion and solutions on the fresh water scarcity in Singapore. Apparently Singapore is lack of fresh water for the 4 million populations in total, since this country is a small island without any river, there are 14 artificial reservoirs, though.(Christine Lee, Sim Hwee Huang and Chang Chew Hung, 2003) In recent years, Singapore always devotes themselves to improve the technique of NE water, which is a strategy for manufacturing new water. Dragonfly lake is existed for the government official vision of "city in the garden". This Garden's lake system is important for integrating ecological processes and function as a living system and capturing the water runoff within the gardens. (Aeration Industries International, 2015) Therefore, both increasing the water supply and decreasing the demand of fresh water is supposed to be the best option of solution to this problem.

2.0 Methodology

Choosing the particular country as a respondent for this research is the first step to do. The country with water scarcity problems is the reason of Singapore is chosen. Research on the Singapore's fresh water issues and understanding the current situation would be the initial mission that has to complete. After dealing with deciding the best solution, the other information such as where Singapore get their water supply, how they take action to decrease the demand of fresh water and what the government's enforcements are. Majorities of my research were done on the Internet and websites that are selected for this scientific research would more likely to be those with ".gov" or ".edu", which represent academic websites with high reputations. Investigating the different solutions in the same number of websites and from different experts was considered to make sure the fairness of this topic.

3.0 Findings

The key fresh water issues in Singapore are known as limited areas for water storage and long-term security of water. Currently, Singapore is concentrated on finding approaches for water supply. Malaysia is the biggest supplier of water supply for 40% to Singapore. (UKessays, 2015)Desalination is an important and potential strategy to expand the availability of water sources, which used to dissolve the salinity of the sea water in order to drink, and it can help to solve the problem because Singapore is a country surrounded by sea. However there are still many factors and effects should be considered seriously such as the first desalination plant was instituted at the cost of S$200 million in 1995, which is really a huge amount of money. NEwater is a three-stage process that built for producing better quality of water from wastewater in order to increase water supply controlled by an organization called Public Utilities Board (PUB). Singapore government also encourages private enterprises to save water and establish more water-saved plants by factories to deal with the security of water.(Cercilia Tortajada, 2007) There are two figures under that include the statistic which fluctuates after the tariffs of water become more expensive.


Table1, Average Monthly Consumption and Bill of All Taxes    

Reference: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/Issue%202%20Apr%202007/Pages/Water-Management-in-Singapore.aspx

It is a table which shows the average monthly consumption of household and it has slightly decreased from 1995 to 2004. The monthly bill of all taxes is dropped a bit as well.

Figure 1, Domestic Water Consumption

Reference: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/Issue%202%20Apr%202007/Pages/Water-Management-in-Singapore.aspx

The figure above shows the statistic of water consumption from 1995 to 2005 in Singapore. Obviously, the numbers have a stable decline as the price of water has increased, which means the enforcement of water recycle is successfully worked because people don't want to or cannot afford the expensive tariffs of water.

4.0 Discussion

According to the findings, Singapore has put their efforts on both increasing the water supply and decreasing the demand of fresh water. If only spend time on one side, it will probably fluctuate the entire economy of the country. In addition, water problem is a chronic existence that occurred from the past to the future. Water supply and demand decreased will definitely be considered as the direction of solution consequently. The whole country all worries about the long-term protection of water. Therefore, they excessively focus on increase water availability, enhance water quality management, and lower the production and management price. Water supply from Malaysia is good but actually it is unreliable and not suitable to be a long-term plan if Malaysia doesn't have sufficient water to use one day. Even though both of NEwater and desalination are based on complex technology and cost much money, NEwater has the advantage of constant existence and improving the quality of water by removing the bacteria undoubtedly and desalination has several external factors that may influence its quality and safety. Moreover, if the government keeps making the tariff higher, it will definitely lose many of the consumers and affect the economy badly. As a result, NEwater will be supposed to be the proposed solution to the water scarcity problem.(Cercilia Tortajada, 2007)

5.0 Conclusions and Recommendations

The NEwater is successfully worked for improving the quality of drinking water since 2000, and the expert panel also tested its safety in 2002. It can be easily found in the statistic of the treated wastewater amount from 2002 to 2004, which rose up from 1.315 to 1.369 million cubic meters per day.(Cercilia Tortajada, 2007) For the further study on this proposed solution, some other data such as how long the NEwater takes to make 1- cubic- meter water, where the wastewater is from, whether the water will generate some health problems and whether this process will create pollution to the environment can be suggested to support the feasibility of this solution. A limitation that occurred during the research is one of the articles was actually submitted by a student instead of a professional expert. Overall, the future plan of water management in the next couple years in Singapore is a suggested point that used for the further research to understand this topic clearly.


Cecilia Tortajada (2007), Water Management in Singapore, Civil Service College [online]. Available from:

https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/Issue%202%20Apr%202007/Pages/Water-Management-in-Singapore.aspx [Accessed 13th September 2016]

Dealing with Water Scarcity in Singapore: Institutions, Strategies, and Enforcement (2006), Site Resources [online]. Available from:

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTEAPREGTOPENVIRONMENT/Resources/WRM_Singapore_experience_EN.pdf [Accessed 13th September 2016]

https://www.ukessays.com/essays/environmental-sciences/the-issues-of-fresh-water-in-singapore-environmental-sciences-essay.php [Accessed 13th September 2016]

Christine Lee, Sim Hwee Huang & Chang Chew Hung (2003), Water In Singapore, HSSE [online]. Available from:


Singapore Gardens an Environmental Sustainability Showcase (2016), Aeration Industries International [online]. Available from:


Reference from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTEAPREGTOPENVIRONMENT/Resources/WRM_Singapore_experience_EN.pdf

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