CRISIS MANGAGEMENT AND NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS:
WATER CRISIS IN SINGAPORE
Foo Fang Yu, Edmund Leong, Goh Wei Yang Brian
By 2025, a third of the world is predicted to face water shortages (Khor, 2010). Answering the call for papers by the Symposium on Crisis Management and National Preparedness, this paper emphasizes the possibility of a partial water shortage and explores how a natural water resource scarce Singapore can lessen the impact of a disruption to daily lifestyle before she attains self sufficiency in water production. Recommendations for measures by the government and Public Ultility Board (PUB) to reduce water demand and to alleviate the crisis will be ...view middle of the document...
First, Singapore may need to reduce industrial production just like how the Site association of Industry of Karachi did due to deteriorating water supply (OnePakistanNews, 2011). Also, water pressure may also be reduced, similar to Manila (GMA News, 2011). The general public may panic and stock up on bottled water, just lÂ¬Â¬Â¬ke Chinaâ€™s shortage in 2005 (Asia News, 2005). Water rationing orders may have to be issued if water consumption continues to far exceeds supply.
Current Responses and Constraints
It is evident that the Singapore government has implemented award winning measures (Wong, 2007), by focusing on campaigning, finding alternative sources of water and improving demand management (Pallett, n.d.).
Singapore has launched the magazine PURE (Loh, 2009) and a mascot named Water Wally (Channel News Asia, 2009). Major alternative water sources include Newater in 2003 (Loh, 2009), launching of Marina Barrage Water Catchment in 2010, subsequent launch of two more reservoirs in 2011 (Xinmsn News, 2010) and the opening of the first desalination plant (Channel News Asia, 2010).
To curb the high demand of water, Singapore has introduced a progressive water tariff system (PUB, 2010).
However, noting that the aim of controlling water demand is to lower water consumption till it falls within our supply capabilities, water tariffs may not be an effective deterrent for demand management, as industries with high profits and affluent families may treat the cost of their water bill as insignificant.
Proposed herewith are unexplored measures to reduce total water consumption and a possible way to alleviate a partial water shortage should one occur.
1. Smart Water Meters
In Singapore, domestic consumption of water accounts for 53% of total water consumption (Morris, 2007). Since water tariffs alone may not be an effective measure, our group proposes the implementation of Smart Water Meter (SWM).
Currently, analogue meters record accumulated monthly water usage. To analyze water usage, consumers have to manually record and subtract readings or refer to their consecutive monthly bills. This may result in a lack of conscious usage of water as it is troublesome for consumers to calculate. Also, water piping leaks are usually undetected and can be around 10% of household consumption (Bloom, 2010). To mitigate above-mentioned problems, we propose for PUB to replace existing water meters with SWM. A SWM is a device connected to a standard water meter that allows continuous electronic reading and display. This information is converted to an electronic signal and transmitted through the internet to a computer (Hauber-Davidson, 2006). Moreover, existing telecommunications network may be utilized to transmit readings from the meters onto the servers. PUB can set up websites like Singtel myBill for users to regularly check their water consumption (Singtel, n.d.).
One concern is the possible tampering of SWM. PUB can adopt...