The evolution of NEWater has spanned over a period of three decades although it may sound like an overnight success for Singapore.
How It Started
Singapore’s first water masterplan was drawn up in 1972. In 1974, PUB built a pilot plant, which was a precursor of today’s NEWater Factory, to turn treated used water into drinking water. However, we were ahead of our time as the cost of membranes was cosmic and membranes were unreliable. Hence, this idea was shelved to await further technological advancement.
The Singapore Water Reclamation Study (NEWater Study) was initiated in 1998 as a joint initiative between PUB and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).
To determine the suitability of using NEWater as a source of raw water to supplement Singapore’s water supply (a practice known as Planned Indirect Potable Use, or IPU).
NEWater – A Reality
By 1998, the necessary technology had matured and production cost came down drastically. In May 2000, the first NEWater plant was completed. In 2001, PUB embarked on new initiatives to increase water supply from unconventional sources for non-potable use.