Don’t be intrigued by the heading. If you are thinking of the adage ,’Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink’, you are probably at least a mile away from reality. It is the reverse here in Singapore.
It is actually the case of the place that has no water on its own but gets water the most sensible way. The country, or city state if you choose to call it so, has no springs. It doesn’t have water springs because it does not have hills and mountains. It does not have hills and mountains because there is no room to place the hill and the mountain. So when God said,’ Let there be earth’, He didn’t obviously pay attention to this small dot near Indonesia and Malaysia. And hence He didn’t create mountains and hills. And so there are no springs and hence there is no natural source of water.
But God gave a team of sensible leaders to the country under a sensible chief who decided to defy God and produce water for the country. I think God was happy that His work was outsourced that He had some time for Himself.
And therefore the whole country was dug up, drains were laid and every drop of water was collected. And the drains were networked and they led to man-made reservoirs. And then you have those purifying stations and the pumping stations and voila, you have potable water in your tap. So you get to see signs along the roads -‘your reservoir starts here’- asking you not to litter. And underneath your feet there are iron girders that help drain the rain water into the underground drains.
But until the reservoirs were built, could the people live in thirst ? No. So the chief and his lieutenants entered into multi year water import agreements with Malaysia. But Malaysia cannot be relied upon for ever. Therefore Singapore built its man-made reservoirs. So, even if the water agreements with Malaysia expire after sometime, in-land water would be available.
The story is not over yet. The chief and his team decided that even water from homes need to be re-cycled and so they built a water treatment facility under the name ‘New-Water’ that is currently used for industrial purposes.
And when Chinese leader Hu-Jintau visited Singapore sometime back, he made it a point to understand how New-Water was produced and asked Singapore to help China build such facilities in mainland China. A country that has many natural rivers and has the capability divert rivers ( like they are diverting the Indian Brahmaputra river ), sought help from tiny Singapore on New-Water. Not surprising that Singapore counts Israel among its peers when it comes to water management.
So let me end the water story with some pictures that I took in Pandan Reservoir during my morning walk. Those envious of Singapore, please continue to do so. Those who want to emulate Singapore in water management, please visit the facilities once and take back the learning to your countries.