The NEWater Plant Visit

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum

During school holidays, together with some friends, we went to visit the NEWater plant with the hope to instill the 'water is precious' mindset into the little minds. There are free guided tours Tuesdays to Sundays, you may book your trip here.

The children, together with other visitors, were briefed how Singapore collects its water via a large multimedia wall. 

Singapore has 4 sources of water, namely, local catchment, imported water, NEWater & desalinated water.

The children learned that Singapore has 17 reservoirs (I didn't know there are so many too) to store rainwater.  With the opening of Marina, Punggol & Serangoon reservoirs, Singapore's water catchment area has increased from half to two-thirds of the island since 2011.

The NEWater supply plans to make up 50% of Singapore's water supply by 2060 (but I think that the recent recommended population hike to 6.9 million was not in the equation yet). & the desalinated water to contribute up to 30% of our water supplies.  Certainly, this is to ensure we will be water self-sufficiency & will not have to rely on imported water when the contract with our neighbouring country expiries in 2061.

There is also an area where visitors can play some games before everyone adjourn to more serious stuff.

After some fun games, we were briefed on the NEWater.

The water for NEWater is collected via underground (20-50m) deep tunnel sewers.  They received used water from the exisiting sewerage systems via link sewers.

There are 4 NEWater plants in Singapore:
2010  Changi NEWater Plant
2007  Ulu Pandan NEWater Plant
2003  Kranji NEWater Plant
2003  Bedok NEWater Plant

Currently, most of the NEWater supply is for commercial use.  Only a small percentage is pumped into the reservoir.

We were told of the 3-step water purification process to produce NEWater

After the tour, I was a little concerned that these 7-8 years old children might find the tour too difficult to understand.  After all, they were not taught Science in schools yet, let alone filtration, reverse osmosis & disinfection.

However, I was surprised that AJ blurted out that the molecule of the water is smaller than those of germs & bacteria.  I asked how did he conclude that.  He answered, "Otherwise how could the water pass through the filters?"  Ah! Don't underestimate young minds!

When we got home, we tested the NEWater with our liquid pH tester (more accurate than litmus paper) because I know reverse osmosis process makes water acidic.  But the speaker told us that sodium hydroxide is added to all bottled NEWater to boost its pH to 6.5-8.5 which is the recommended pH for drinking water by World Health Organisation.  Much to my surprise, the NEWater turned out to be acidic (orange in colour means pH 4.5-5.5).  After this horrible findings, I concluded that NEWater is strictly meant for commercial use. I will not drink it, neither would I allow my family to drink it too.  :(

Acidic NEWater is not recommended for personal consumption

Nonetheless, I find the tour beneficial to older kids or children who are more mature.  The brief on scarcity of water was stressed which we hope that the younger generation will not take clean & abundant water supply for granted.  


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