Developing a Culture of “Revulsion”: Singapore Tackles Water Wastage


Singapore is an interesting place. As a city-state it occupies a very small amount of land area, about 700 square kilometers. Packed into this space are 5.6 million people working in one of the world’s strongest economies. A big part of the economy is based on manufacturing and oil refining. Both of these sectors are intensive water users. Because of this, water availability is a big issue. Singaporeans, who depend on the municipal water supply to live their lives, compete with industry for a relatively scarce resource.

Where does the water come from?

Currently, Singapore gets its water from four sources;

  1. importation from neighbouring Malaysia
  2. wastewater recycling
  3. rainwater reservoirs
  4. desalinization.

Recently, at a meeting with businesses and non-governmental organizations, the government minister in charge of water talked about how developing a country-wide mindset towards waste should be a key consideration going forward. He wanted people to become so conscious of their water usage that they would hate to waste a drop (hence, a culture of “revulsion”). He talked about the importance of reducing both domestic and industrial consumption. He also touched on the role, reclamation and recycling might play in the future.

Singapore already relies heavily on recycled water. The country calls its recycled water NEWater and it’s used for everything from industrial processes to drinking and cooking. When the country first launched its water reuse program about fifteen years ago, it had to solve all the technological issues associated with a large scale industrial project but it also had to overcome an equally difficult social problem, convincing people to drink recycled water. They did this by demonstrating to the public the stringency of water treatment process and testing regimes.

Ensuring, on a daily basis, that millions of litres of reclaimed water is safe to drink is a huge undertaking. At LuminUltra we understand the challenges that go along with what Singapore is doing. Helping clients test water for potential microbial contamination is what we do.


Stacey Pineau

Clearly explaining complex topics has been Stacey’s focus for close to 25 years now. She helps plan how best to reach the right people, then works to provide them with relevant information that’s easy to understand. Stacey is a team player with an entrepreneurial spirit. She has broad experience that spans the private and public sectors. A lover of words, Stacey has a slightly irrational love of the library and a personal collection of way too many books and magazines. She lives in Fredericton with her husband Ray, their two children and dog Scouty.

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