As Singapore has a small land area and a big population, the water resources is very precious.
Singapore does not have any natural freshwater lakes, so the primary source of water is rain which is collected from water catchment areas and reservoirs, which provide about 47% of our water in Singapore. The remainder is bought from Malaysia or by producing recycled waste water (NEWater).
The first reservoir in Singapore is the MacRitchie reservoir, built by the British in 1867. So as Singapore developed into a modern city, more water sources are needed. So two more reservoirs wee built.
Since the independence of Singapore, the Public Utilities Board took over the control of basic supplies which included water. Since then, there had been many developments and improvements in order to increase the water supply of Singapore.
During the 1960s and 1970s there was great development for Singapore. In order to maintain that, many big water projects were embarked in order to increase the water supply of Singapore. Some of these projects included the Kranji-Pandan Scheme, the Upper Pierce Project and the Western Catchment Water Scheme.
The current modern Singapore gets its water from a network of reservoirs and water catchment areas. By 2001, there were about 19 raw water reservoirs, 9 treatment works and 14 storage or service reservoirs locally to serve the domestic needs.
A barrage has been constructed around the estuary of three Singapore rivers, creating a huge freshwater reservoir, known as the Marina Bay reservoir. When inaugurated at the end of October, 2008, it increased the rainfall catchment of Singapore to two-thirds of the country's surface area from half.
There will be two more reservoirs, known as the Punggol reservoir and Serangoon reservoir, are being constructed at the moment.
For many years, Singapore has relied on buying water from Malaysia to supply half of the water consumption in Singapore. As of 2009, imported water had been reduced to about 40% of the total consumption here in singapore. However the two water agreements that supply Singapore with water are due to expire before 2011 and 2061 respectively and the two countries are engaged in a dispute regarding the price of the water. Without a current resolution, the government of Singapore has decided to increase the self-sufficiency in its water supply.
NEWater is the brand name given to the reclaimed water produced by Singapore's public utilities. More specifically, it is treated wastewater (sewage) that has been purified using dual-membrane and ultraviolet technologies, in addition to the conventional water treatment processes.
There are four NEWater factories, located at Bedok, Kranji, Seletar, and Ulu Pandan. Water Reclamation Plants are producing about 32 million US gallons per day. These four NEWater plants can meet about 15 % of Singapore's water needs.
On 13 September 2005, Singapore opened its first desalination plant by SingSpring. The plant which is located at Tuas, can produce up to 30 million gallons of water each day. Worth about $200 million, it is one of the biggest in the world and meets 10 percent of the country's water needs. The plant also produces bottled water called the Desal H2O.
At the desalination plant, sea water is forced through plastic membranes with microscopic pores in order to extract dissolved salts. Silt is removed by dousing the seawater with chemicals that coagulate the particles.
Coinciding with the official opening of the desalination plant, the International Desalination Association (IDA) held its 6-day World Congress in Singapore. Around six hundred experts and delegates attended the congress to discuss about desalination and water reuse. Some experts suggested that Singapore could become the world's water hub for water recycling and desalination technology and could export this technology to the world including China. Dr Masaru Kurihara, the director of IDA, said that with the new technology in water reclamation, waste water would become the most important sustainable water resource in the future.
There has also been some campaigns to urge people to conserve water, aiming to reduce consumption of water in Singapore from 161 litres per day per person to 155 litres and some suggested methods include spending one minute less in the shower.