Singapore – Operating Reservoir Augmentation since 2002 with pioneering visitor centre
The NEWater process recycles our treated used water into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water, cushioning our water supply against dry weather and moving Singapore towards water sustainability. There are currently 5 NEWater plants in operation.
Journey of NEWater
On 9 August 2002, PUB launched NEWater to the Singaporean public when 60,000 people toasted the nation’s birthday at the National Day Parade with bottles of NEWater. In the following year, we officially opened the first two NEWater plants at Bedok and Kranji, and the NEWater Visitor Centre, a water museum to showcase our journey towards water sustainability.
NEWater Production Process
Stage 1 – Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration
Typically, the first stage of the NEWater production process is known as Microfiltration (MF) or Ultrafiltration (UF). In this process, the treated used water is passed through membranes to filter out microscopic particles and bacteria.
PUB has been adopting the membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology for water reclamation. MBR is a 3-in-1 solution that combines conventional bioreactors, secondary sedimentation tanks and MF/UF in one single step. Hence, the MF/UF process can be replaced by the single-step MBR process, where applicable.
Stage 2 – Reverse Osmosis
The second stage of the NEWater production process is known as Reverse Osmosis (RO), where a semi-permeable membrane with very small pores is used. This allows water molecules to pass through while leaving contaminants, such as viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, etc., behind.
Stage 3 – Ultraviolet Disinfection
After the RO stage, the water is already of a high-grade quality. The third stage of the NEWater production process is Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection which inactivates any last traces of bacteria and viruses. This process acts as an additional safety measure to guarantee the purity of NEWater.
As it is ultra-clean, NEWater is used mainly for industrial and air-con cooling purposes at wafer fabrication plants, industrial estates and commercial buildings. The biggest users of NEWater are wafer fabrication plants, which require water quality that is even more stringent than water for drinking. NEWater is delivered to industrial customers via a dedicated pipe network.
Indirect Potable Use
During dry periods, NEWater is added to our reservoirs to blend with raw water. The raw water from the reservoir is treated at the waterworks before it is supplied to consumers as tap water.