Singapore’s population, which stands at 5.5 million today, is expected to grow to 6.9 million by 2030. This growth is putting pressure on the country’s resources, such as the available land and the water supply. As the demand for water continues to increase, it is important to maintain and restore good water quality, especially in local catchment areas. Singapore has defined catchments as one of the four ‘National Taps’ (key water sources) managed by the Public Utilities Board (PUB). This would require sustainable management of reservoirs and greater investments to improve and ensure good water quality. However, the role of water quality is not yet fully understood at present.
Witteveen+Bos South-East Asia is currently conducting a research project to assess the applicability of an approach to ecological system analysis developed in the Netherlands, with the aim of gaining more insight into water quality. The project includes training in ecological system analysis to PUB personnel, and offers a more integral perspective on water quality management through workshops by our specialists. The second stage of the project involves performing a system analysis for a case study examining the Pandan Reservoir. This reservoir has a less hydrologically complex system, allowing for a better and clearer illustration of the approach.
Located in the south-west of Singapore’s main island Pulau Ujong, the Pandan Reservoir was built in 1974 by enclosing the swamps of Sungei Pandan estuary with a 6.2-km-long dike. It has an approximate area of 1.7 km2, and is a service reservoir that supplies water to PUB’s Chou Chu Kang water treatment plant. The application of system analysis will help to gain more insight into the processes that determine water quality in the Pandan Reservoir. The conceptual framework of the Ecological Key Factors (EKFs) is used to structure the assessment of water quality, and will help to identify (cost)effective measures for improving water quality in the Pandan Reservoir.
As the project approaches its second stage, the concept of system analysis has so far been received with great enthusiasm by the Public Utilities Board. Further applications and analyses using the system analysis approach have been planned for the final leg of the project, and are expected to greatly improve the efficiency of water quality management. Developments at different reservoirs throughout Singapore will also be better understood now, thanks to the application of system analysis.