Newater use up
35% in the past year
Ulu Pandan plant, which starts next year, will raise production capacity and may lower prices
NEWATER use has jumped about 35 per cent in the past year. And all three plants are running at full capacity, the Public Utilities Board told The Straits Times after the foundation stone for the fourth, and largest, plant was laid yesterday.
Economies of scale from the massive new plant in Ulu Pandan are likely to push Newater prices down, the PUB said.
Similar economies of scale from the earlier plants had already allowed the PUB to reduce prices - a fact Mr Raymond Lim, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, alluded to while speaking at the stone-laying ceremony. Prices were lowered from $1.30 per cubic metre to $1.15 per cubic metre from the start of this year, said Mr Lim, who was there with Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim.
Newater is produced after treated effluent from Singapore's sewerage system is subjected to rigorous re-treatment. Though fit for drinking, it is now used mainly for industrial purposes.
The new Ulu Pandan plant will more than double Newater production capacity from 92,000 cubic metres per day to 208,000 cubic metres per day - enough to fill 104 Olympic-size swimming pools. A year ago, about 68,000 cubic metres of Newater were being used daily.
Mr Lim Chiow Giap, PUB's director for water supply plants, said the production capacity of the new plant, at 116,000 cubic metres a day, is more than the combined capacities of the three existing plants in Bedok, Kranji and Seletar.
The plant will begin production only late next year, but new customers have already signed up. 'The number of customers who have signed up for Newater has grown from 104 in December last year to 138 right now,' said PUB's Mr Lim.
Of these, 56 are current Newater users. The rest will get their supplies once the new plant starts rolling.
The Ulu Pandan plant will serve companies in the Jurong and Tuas industrial areas. It will also supply water to run air-conditioning systems in commercial buildings in the Central Business District. New customers include the Raffles City and Suntec City malls.
The Ulu Pandan plant is the first Newater facility to be built by a private company.
Keppel Integrated Engineering, a subsidiary of local conglomerate Keppel Corporation, will build and manage the plant, supplying Newater to the PUB for a period of 20 years.
Mr Raymond Lim said such 'public-private partnerships' would improve services 'both in terms of cost and quality'.
'With greater participation from the private sector, we can expect more competition, innovation and value for money in the delivery of public services,' he said.
That's exactly what the Ulu Pandan plant may achieve. Keppel Integrated Engineering chief executive Chua Chee Wui said his company would supply Newater to PUB at only 30 cents per cubic metre. This is believed to be lower than the cost at which PUB was producing Newater at the three older plants. -- firstname.lastname@example.org