Think Today, Drink Tomorrow
All hands on deck as CapitaLand helps to improve the waters of Singapore.
Issue: Apr 2009
CapitaLand donated this eco-friendly, electric boat to PUB for conducting river clean-ups.
Although water is a vital part of our everyday lives, most of us tend to take it for granted. However, supplying plenty of clean, fresh water has never been an easy task for the government of Singapore. Being an urban island with limited natural resources and limited space to catch and store water, Singaporeans have had to come up with innovative and resourceful solutions to its water shortage problem.
Singapore has a long and solid history for identifying ways to address the country's water shortage problems. The country's first reservoir was constructed in 1822 at Fort Canning. By 1850 the population of the city had swelled and this reservoir was unable to meet the demand for fresh water.
In 1857, Tan Kim Seng, a Chinese merchant who had made his fortune in Singapore, donated money towards constructing Singapore's first waterworks and pipeline project. This provided the impetus for engineering a new reservoir on Thompson Road, now known as the MacRitchie Reservoir. The Kallang River Reservoir, later renamed Pierce Reservoir followed and a little later the Seletar Reservoir was also formed. These three reservoirs remained the main local source of Singapore's water supply until the formation of the Public Utilities Board (PUB) in 1963.
Over the last four decades the PUB has taken a proactive stance in developing a sustainable water supply in Singapore. Their latest feat is the Marina Barrage, which opened in November 2008, that leads to the 15th reservoir in Singapore - the Marina Reservoir. The new barrage is a dam that spans across the 1,150 ft Marina Channel. The nine crest gates, each more than 90 ft high, act as a barrier to keep seawater out of the Marina Reservoir. According to plan, the river feeds into the reservoir alleviating potential flooding.
Combine this with natural precipitation, in one to two years the Marina Reservoir will be a purely fresh water reservoir. The Singapore government reports that the Marina Reservoir's catchment, the area from which it collects water, amounts to one-sixth of the nation's land area. So while Singapore might not have much land, it's collecting fresh water from as big an area as possible. This engineering marvel is the very first reservoir built in the heart of the city and is the new source of water supply for Singapore.
Keeping It Clean
CapitaLand Deputy Chief Corporate Officer, Mr Lai Choon Hung (right most in foreground) and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Amy Khor (third from right in foreground) amongst other VIPs at the World Water Day 2009 event held at Marina Barrage in conjunction with PUB.
One of the major challenges concerning Singapore's reservoirs is keeping them clean. According to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, PUB collects and removes 15 tonnes of litter and debris daily from various river mouths. On the frontline of battling this issue is Eugene Heng, Chairman of Waterways Watch Society (WWS), a group dedicated to educating the public about the importance of keeping the water clean.
Comparing the current condition of the rivers to that of the past Heng says, "It is getting better but is not the best. Most of what is in the river today is litter discarded by people who don't realise that everything is connected and every unconscious act contributes to the problem." He goes on to express that the assistance that WWS receives from corporations such as CapitaLand and individual volunteers, "helps them in their mission."
CapitaLand Leading by Example
Committed to the cause, on World Water Day 2009 (22 March), CapitaLand adopted into its care the Marina Reservoir, specifically Marina Bay and the Singapore River.
It is part of CapitaLand's "Building a Greener Future" programme, a series of corporate social responsibility green initiatives to encourage its stakeholders and the public to play a role in protecting the environment, including our water resources. At an event held in conjunction with the PUB at Marina Barrage, CapitaLand also unveiled an eco-friendly, electric boat that was donated to the PUB for the use of conducting river clean-ups. This boat will be crewed by volunteers who will use nets to carefully clean the river and its banks while cataloguing the types of trash they find floating.
This information will be used to improve the knowledge of all Singaporeans on how to protect their water supply. As CapitaLand offers its staff three days per year of "Volunteer Service Leave" to take part in charitable and selected environmental activities, its staff will be teaming up to conduct river clean-ups on the electric boat with the first session on 22 April 2009. During the session, volunteers will also walk the banks of the river and shores of the catchment, removing trash and debris to prevent them from falling into the water.
You too can join them in this good cause. Besides spending a day outside with family and friends you will be supporting a programme that helps everyone who calls Singapore home. Members of the public who are interested in volunteering their time to promote the water cause can email: pub_fow@ pub.gov.sg
The adoption and clean-ups are only part of the CapitaLand water conservation ethos. In CapitaLand's buildings around the world everything possible is done to cut down on water consumption.
Specifically in Singapore, efforts include utilizing the latest water saving technology, use of recycled water "NEWater" for the fire protection system and cooling towers, and rainwater for the irrigation of the greenery. CapitaLand's goal is to ensure that it is setting a good example to encourage others to do their part. In that spirit they are helping everyone to be part of the solution.
Every Little Bit Helps
As an individual, you can still do many things to conserve water. Fifty-five percent of all water consumption in Singapore is in the home. By following a few simple steps, everybody can save up to ten litres of water a day. Here are some water saving tips from PUB:-
Don't run water to wash your fruits and vegetables, instead use a bowl.
Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 560 litres of water per month.
When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
Match the water level to the size of the load when doing laundry.
While brushing your teeth turn off the water and save 94 litres a month.
Check to make sure that your taps and showerheads are water saving fixtures.
To get a list of approved water saving devises and tips or ask about the "Our Waters" programme, visit the PUB website at www.pub.gov.sg
If you would like to report pollution or would like to help keep the water clean in Singapore, you can visit the WWS website at: http://www.wws.org.sg