IWA Publishing

The energy cost of water independence: the case of Singapore


Finding alternative resources to secure or increase water availability is a key issue in most urban areas. This makes the research of alternative and local water resources of increasing importance. In the context of political tension with its main water provider (Malaysia), Singapore has been implementing a comprehensive water policy for some decades, which relies on water demand management and local water resource mobilisation in order to reach water self-sufficiency by 2060. The production of water from alternative resources through seawater desalination or water reclamation implies energy consumptive technologies such as reverse osmosis. In the context of increasing energy costs and high primary energy dependency, this water self-sufficiency objective is likely to be an important challenge for Singapore. The aim of this paper is to quantify the long-term impact of Singapore's water policy on the national electricity bill and to investigate the impact of Singapore's projects to reduce its water energy footprint. We estimate that 2.0% of the Singaporean electricity demand is already dedicated to water and wastewater treatment processes. If its water-energy footprint dramatically increases in the coming decades, ambitious research projects may buffer the energy cost of water self-sufficiency.

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