THE LIFE OF WATER

Last Saturday (1 Nov), DS and I visited the NEWater Visitor Centre located near Bedok.

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We had originally planned to go to MacRitchie Reservoir that day for yet another photography outing. Having stayed in Singapore for 20 years now, I have yet to ever been to MacRitchie Reservoir. I suppose this is nothing surprising since I only began to have a better appreciation for nature in recent years.

Unfortunately, it rained that morning!

I was a little disappointed that we could not proceed with our plan but DS was quick to make an alternative arrangement to visit the NEWater Visitor Centre which turned out to be an interesting and educational outing for us. I brought along my little Santa Kitty as it was Hello Kitty’s 35th Birthday that day.

Below : This 4″Santa Kitty was a special Christmas gift from a former Japanese colleague, sent all the way from Tokyo. Kitty has been lucky to have joined me on trips to Beijing and Korea. I think I am going to bring her to her homeland, Japan, next year!

kitty

Water is aplenty in the surroundings of NEWater Visitor Centre. It gave us an exhilarating welcome to the Centre. I wonder if this has anything to do with Feng Shui?

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Below : Lobby of NEWater Visitor Centre which is very beautifully done.lobby

The NEWater Centre conducts five free-of-charge guided tours each day, from Tuesdays to Sundays. Each tour takes about an hour and a hour. The Centre also provides complimentary two-way shuttle bus service between Tanah Merah MRT station and the Centre. These are all sponsored by PUB (Public Utilities Board), Singapore’s national water agency.

On a quick chat with the guide, we understood that the Centre is popular amongst foreign visitors although he claimed that about 50% of the visitors are locals. On that morning of our visit, we were joined by a large group of Thai visitors and as we were leaving, we saw the arrival of a group of Indians in a big bus.  I am impressed that this Centre is also playing a role in contributing to the tourism industry in Singapore.

The tour gave us an insight into waters of Singapore and how our precious water resources are managed.

Below : Our Guide, Martin, giving an explanationnewater5

Below : State-of-the-art set-up with lots of multimedia interactive stations in the Centre.newater6

We also learned how NEWater is produced through four stages of process, its usage and safety for drinking.

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Below : This is where the first stage of the process, Ultra-filtration or Micro-filtration takes place.ultrafiltration

Below : These Thai visitors seemed to be having great fun with the micro-filtration membrane fibres which look like fine noodles.fibre-membranes

Below : Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a core technology in the NEWater production. This Japan-made RO system is the first in the world that has just started operations in the Centre, in 2008.reverse-osmosis1

Below : Third step of the process : UV Disinfectionnewater14

Below : A cutaway model of the UV lamp useduv-disinfection2

Below : Finally, Water Conditioningconditioning1

Below : SCADA (Supervisory Controls and Data Acquisiton) System is used in the Control Room to monitor, control and safeguard each stage of the production process. The staffs work 24 hours daily.scala-room

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Below : Cheers to Mr Goh Chok Tong, our former Prime Minister. Our guide told us that he was the first man to have tasted the NEWater when it made its debut in 2002!newater12

Below : Awards wonawards

The NEWater Programme :-

  • Award of Excellence by National Water Research Institute in recognition of outstanding contributions to Microfiltration Technology (2002)
  • Winner of Environmental Contributions of the Year 2008 by Global Water Intelligence

The NEWater Visitor Centre :-

  • Star of Tourism to NEWater Visitor Centre for its Best Sightseeing/Leisure/ Educational Programme, 20th Tourism Awards Singapore (2005)

Each visitor was given a bottle of NEWater. We have already consumed a bottle!newater13

Do you know :-

  • On an average, what was the daily water consumption per person in Singapore, in 2007?
  • How many reservoirs are there in Singapore? Which is the latest reservoir and which are the upcoming ones?
  • How many NEWater plants are there in Singapore?
  • How much water are pumped into our reservoirs every day?
  • Which were the countries that have already used the NEWater technology way before us?

Well, all the answers can be found during the tour. With the school holiday just around the corner, if you are thinking of a family outing for your kids, I think the NEWater Centre is a good choice. I am already planning to take my nephews from New Zealand there when they next visit us in January 2009!

I am really glad to have visited the NEWater Visitor Centre as it gave me an opportunity to get to know Singapore better. In fact, at the start of this year, I kind of set up an objective to have a monthly outing to explore Singapore. Leisure aside, I also feel that it is time for me to get to know my country even better! Well, looking at the list below, I think I am close to achieving this objective. 🙂

  • January : Changi Village, Night Safari, Chinatown’s CNY Light-Up
  • March : National Museum of Singapore
  • April : Singapore Art Museum (Xu Bei Hong’s Art Exhibition)
  • May : Southern Ridges
  • July : Singapore Garden Festival
  • August : Singapore Flyer, Singapore Fireworks 2008,
  • September : Jurong Bird Park, cycling at East Coast
  • October : Singapore Botanic Gardens
  • November : NEWater Visitor Centre
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