Singapore's National Water Agency PUB has received S$51 million (more than €32 million) from the National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF) under the Competitive Funding for Water Research (CWR) programme, as part of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 Plan. This is the fourth tranche of RIE funding received by PUB, which will be used to develop innovative and high-impact solutions to meet national water needs over the next five years. This CWR programme forms part of the larger Innovation and Enterprise (I&E) strategy to develop and commercialise cutting-edge water technologies to cement Singapore's position as a global hydrohub.
With the country's water demand expected to almost double by 2060, continuous research and development (R&D) is required to spur innovative solutions that can ensure a secure and sustainable water supply for the future. Areas of focus identified for R&D include reducing energy use in seawater desalination, increasing energy self-sufficiency in used water treatment and reducing industrial water demand. In line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, two new areas of research for the water sector – i) Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery and ii) Climate Science and Adaptation – are also included in RIE2025, to address future challenges brought about by climate change.
PUB's Chief Engineering & Technology Officer, Pang Chee Meng said, “PUB has been continuously investing in research and technology to meet Singapore's water challenges with three key aims - to increase our water resources, reduce production costs and improve water quality and security. As the effects of climate become increasingly pronounced, there is a need to study and address the longer-term impacts of climate change on Singapore's water systems, including its effects on various water sources such as the local catchment, seawater and NEWater as well as water infrastructure. We look forward to receiving proposals with novel and scalable solutions that will help us meet present and future water needs, in order to build a resilient and sustainable water system in Singapore."
Focus areas under RIE2025 for CWR programme
Based on the two new focus areas, PUB has launched the first two Request-for-Proposals (RFPs) under the RIE2025 CWR programme for i) Recovering Chemicals & Minerals from the Water Loop, and ii) Projecting the Impacts of Climate Change on Singapore's Water System.
Under the first RFP, PUB is seeking technologies and solutions that can recover the following two categories of useful resources:
- Chemicals needed in water and used water treatment processes from local waste streams
- Rare metals relevant to industries from seawater desalination brine
The second RFP aims to study the impact that climate change will have on the Singapore water system for the next 10, 20 and 40 years to guide the formulation of future adaptation strategies. The study will address two focus areas, namely the impact of climate change on water quality and PUB infrastructure. Applicants are also free to propose other areas of study, except for areas related to flooding and coastal protection, where separate studies are already ongoing.