Singapore is a beacon for the Asia-Pacific region for many reasons, including relatively high living standards, world-class infrastructure and a favourable business environment. An added dimension, and one which other regional governments would do well to study, is Singapore’s approach to water management.
Singapore doesn’t have any natural sources of water supply, instead it has historically relied heavily on imports from Malaysia to meet demand. Given that the government expects demand for water from industrial users to grow 70% by 2060, it faces a challenge in sourcing enough water to meet anticipated need.
To meet this demand and lessen the risk of relying on imports from Malaysia, the government has developed a new, four-pronged strategy, or the ‘four national taps’: harvesting rainwater, recycling used water, importing water and desalinating.
Singapore's 'Four Tap' Strategy
Source: Christopher Teh Blog: http://christopherteh.com/blog/2012/06/selangor-water/
While the precise details of each part of the strategy are beyond the scope of this blog, they speak to two distinct trends - infrastructure investment and a increasing focus on water management - that will play out in the Asia Pacific region in the next 10-20 years.
We have blogged recently about the state of water shortages and underpricing of water in parts of the Asia-Pacific region and it will be necessary to improve infrastructure and water management to conserve resources and also meet increased demand for water coming from an increasingly urbanised Asia.
In this case, the approach that Singapore is taking may serve as an example to other countries, particularly China and India, that are facing both severe water shortages and the challenge of meeting burgeoning demand in the future.