Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 03/07/2014 12:39 | By Channel NewsAsia

Water usage up, but no need for rationing for now: Balakrishnan

Water usage up, but no need for rationing for now: Balakrishnan

Water usage up, but no need for rationing for now: Balakrishnan

SINGAPORE: Singapore's water consumption has gone up by about 5 per cent, during this dry spell.

The average total water demand in Singpaore is 400 million gallons a day -- current figures show a demand of 420 million gallons a day.

If demand increases, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he will have to "re-evaluate the adequacy of current plans." For now, he said there is no need for water rationing in Singapore, if a lid is kept on demand and consumption.

He made this point in Parliament on Friday to a question on the country's water resilience.

Dr Balakrishnan said there will be "no operational need for rationing" in the foreseeable future.

He said: "From our latest water demand figures, we are currently consuming about 420 million gallons a day. Now if the demand figure continues to increase then certainly, I will have to re-evaluate the adequacy of our current plans."

Singapore has been experiencing a dry spell since January.

There has been concern about the possibility of a water rationing exercise.

So far, desalination and NEWater sources have helped.

Dr Balakrishnan said they are a reminder today that Singapore can be resilient against a dry spell.

The PUB has stepped up desalination to full capacity of 100 million gallons a day.

NEWater production has also been raised to more than 100 million gallons a day, for industrial use and to top up the country's reservoirs by 35 million gallons a day.

Dr Balakrishnan said that is why Singapore is able to "keep the reservoir stock at a healthy level despite the lack of rain".

He said: "It's sobering to bear in mind that all this additional capacity has only come about in the last decade. In fact, the most recent desalination plant which added 70 million gallons a day only came online six months ago."

He added imported water remains an essential part of the country's water supply.

Dr Balakrishnan also pointed to Singapore's S$300-million investment in the Johor River Linggui Dam project.

This has enabled the river to increase its yield and allow both Singapore and Malaysia to draw water from it even during dry weather.

He said: "All these additional investments have been a premium that we have paid for greater security and diversity of our water supply.”

To further raise public awareness, Dr Balakrishnan says he is seriously considering a water rationing exercise - as a rehearsal - so Singaporeans know what to do during an actual event.  - CNA/xq/ac

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