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Economy

Singapore looks to build fourth desalination plant

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A youth cools himself off at a water fountain near Marina Bay in Singapore.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Hyflux, a leading developer and operator of water-processing facilities here, said Friday it plans to explore the government's tender to build a fourth seawater desalination plant. The project is in line with the government's 2061 target to secure enough water so it can stop importing it from neighboring Malaysia.

     The plant would be in Marina East, a piece of reclaimed land east of the central business district. It would be able to process 136 million liters a day. PUB, the government agency that manages water issues, has called a public tender for engineering designs for the plant.

     Hyflux has already built two desalination plants that together can process 454.6 million liters per day. In March, the government announced a third plant, with the capacity to process 136 million liters per day, is to be built by 2017 in Tuas, west of Singapore.

     "PUB has been making investments to build up and diversify our water supply sources in order to strengthen our water security," said Chua Soon Guan, PUB's deputy chief executive in charge of policy and development.

     Rainwater is gathered and stored in 17 reservoirs islandwide, but because of Singapore's limited landmass, natural sources do not supply enough water to meet the metropolis's consumer and industry needs. After one of two water purchase agreements with Malaysia expired in 2011, Singapore now imports 1.1 billion liters from Malaysia each day.

     This remaining agreement expires in 2061.

     The government has been developing water production facilities, including desalination and recycling plants, while building up reservoirs. Demand for water is expected to double by 2060 from the current 1.8 billion liters a day. By then, desalinated and recycled water will supply 80% of the country's demand, as opposed to 55% now.

     Other companies are also keen to study the tender.

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