Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore's National Water Agency
At the time of independence in 1965, the city-state of Singapore was almost completely dependent on outside sources. In the short term of 20 years, Singapore policy makers moved impressively towards strengthening internal capacities and reducing its reliance on outside sources based on some of the best policy, planning, managerial, governance, education, science and technology focused approaches globally.
The main objective of the NEWater program is to provide a sustainable water source for Singapore's population. NEWater is high-grade reclaimed water produced from treated used water that has undergone a stringent purification and treatment process using advanced dual-membrane (microfiltration and reverse osmosis) and ultraviolet technologies. It has passed more than 100,000 scientific tests and exceeds the drinking water standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While reclaiming used water is not a new concept, what is significant is the successful wide-scale implementation and public engagement plan of NEWater along with its participatory practices and public education programmes, which have allowed delivery of an exponentially successful service.
Screening and Identification Process:
Best Practices Award Winner (2014 Category 2)
To provide a sustainable water source for Singapore's population.
Technologies and Techniques Implemented:
Stringent purification and treatment process using advanced dual-membrane and ultraviolet technologies; participatory practices; public education programs in schools, community centers, and workplaces; effective public communication plan (addressing technical issues, briefings to Members of Parliament, leveraging in media, setting up NEWater Visitor Centre, etc.); construction of a pilot plant to convince industries to support this program