A holistic approach to water resources management which made water use sustainable for different sectors of society in a unique and challenging urban island environment earned PUB Singapore the 2007 Stockholm Industry Water Award.
PUB is the national water agency in Singapore charged with water, wastewater and stormwater management in the city-state. The public agency services about 4.5 million people and a number of major industries with intensive water use. The development and implementation of the complete management system is ongoing but has taken place over a period of about 40 years.
PUB’s holistic approach has resulted in a lower dependence on external water sources by diversification of water sources, including water re-use, desalination, stormwater storage in new water storages and supply of very high quality recycled water to industry with some internal reuse of this supply. Singapore presents a challenging environment for water resources management as it is a small but densely populated island city state.
In its own operations PUB has significantly reduced water losses due to leakage in pipes and inaccurate meters, for example. It has 100% servicing of its population with water and wastewater services and strong political and public acceptance of its policies and services.
This has been accompanied by a major change in water pricing and access policy which aims to use the rate structure to encourage the more efficient use of water. PUB has been able to provide lowered costs of delivered water of improved higher quality to industry and the community. Reclaimed water, branded NEWater in Singapore, is recognised for its high quality. Singapore has also been able to maintain low water costs for households on the lowest tariff water supply despite the major capital investments in new equipment and systems. Its household directed campaign of ‘Water Efficient Homes’ helps residents to save water at home and reduce their water bills.
Through an extensive partnering program with the water industry in all aspects of implementation it has been a model of out-sourcing of skills. From this it has developed an industry capable of transferring this knowledge and skills to the region as well as attracting a broad range of industry skills and capabilities as well as research to Singapore.
“PUB has succeeded in combining all the complex components of a well functioning water management system that has been accepted by the general public, business and industry,” says Lars Gunnarsson, chairman of the Award Committee. “The PUB story would fit well as a study example in the education of water managers. This is an exemplary model of integrated water management in a framework of good policy and innovative engineering solutions.”