Singapore has opened its fourth desalination plant in an effort to enhance water security measures across the country as daily water consumption rates reach 430 million gallons per day, with an expected two-fold increase in the next thirty years.
The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant (KMEDP) is Singapore’s first ever large-scale dual-mode plant which has the ability to treat both seawater from the coast and fresh water from the Marina Reservoir.
According to Singapore’s National Water Agency, PUB, and Keppel, the company responsible for development and operations, the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant is capable of providing approximately 30 gallons of fresh drinking water per day which is about 7 per cent of the country’s total daily water demand.
With Singapore’s daily water demand set to double by 2060 due to the impact of climate change on weather conditions, the new desalination plant will make it easier to ensure a stable and reliable water supply. According to Chew Chee Keong, PUB's director for industry development, KMEDP is positioned in a prime location to be able to treat seawater from the coast during dry spells and water from the reservoir during periods of heavy rainfall.
Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive of PUB, said on the occasion of the 4 February opening: “Seawater desalination is one of Singapore’s ‘four national taps’. Unlike the other three taps – imports, rainfall and recycled water – it is a practically limitless source. It is also weather-resistant and always available, rain or shine, as a source of life-giving water.”
According to PUB and Keppel, KMEDP is the most compact and cost-efficient desalination plant in Singapore as it holds the ability to combine the ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis systems (RO), which means that the water treated from the upstream UF process is delivered straight to the downstream RO process, removing the need for intermediate break tanks and pumping stages. Not only does this feature save space and money, but it also makes the plant between 12 and 15 per cent more energy efficient than Singapore’s other desalination plants.
PUB has announced that a fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to be completed in the first half of this year.