Thursday, October 20, 2011

No. 103: Water business in Japan and the world (22) (October 21, 2011)

Government initiative in Singapore
Singapore is a small and flat country with a population of about five million. Because the country has difficulty securing water resources, it traditionally satisfied about 50% of its domestic water demand with raw water from Malaysia. When Malaysia raised the price of raw water in 2000, Singapore decided to increase the self-sufficiency rate of water and worked out various measures. To be specific, Singapore diversified the sources of raw water into four kinds: (1) water reservoir, (2) import from Malaysia, (3) reuse of sewage, and (4) seawater desalination. Ultimately, the country wishes to decrease the share of (2) and increase the self-sufficiency rate to 100%. Currently, it has five sewage treatment facilities, and they have a combined capacity to meet about 30% of the domestic water demand.

At the same time, Singapore promotes the policy to integrate world’s state-of-the-art water technology under the concept of the Global Hydrohub. Besides providing advanced research facilities and the place for substantiative experiments, the country is trying hard to establish networks of companies worldwide by developing human resources and organizing international conferences. Companies worldwide involved in the water business get together in Singapore and help Singapore companies acquire latest technology and know-how of the water business. PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, manages all water-related policies.

Korea shows the same trend. It started the “SEAHERO” project that aims to develop seawater desalination technology in 2006. With the background of the government support, Hyflux of Singapore and Doosan of Korea are now among top 10 of the world’s largest manufacturers of seawater desalination plants. (To be continued)   

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