The supply of clean drinking water is essential to human health, but it is still a critical issue in many countries around the world. According to a new report by the World Resources Institute published in February 2015, India is one of the most water-challenged countries on the planet. The amount of pollutants in water is increasing rapidly and more than 100 million people are living in places where water is severely polluted. In the state of Rajasthan for instance, 25,504 rural habitations are getting water with chemical or bacterial contamination. These conditions have prompted the government of Rajasthan to improve its water infrastructure and technology and build an extensive network of major drinking water projects to meet the growing demand-supply gap of potable water.
In light of this, the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and Temasek Foundation (TF) have partnered with the Public Health Engineering Department and the Government of Rajasthan to build up capabilities of government officials in Rajasthan, in sustainable water project management. This 18-month programme, which began in February 2015, is supported by TF with a grant of SGD $420,508 and co-funded by the Public Heath Engineering Department of India with an amount of SGD $271,028. The goal is that with more effective water management policies and practices in place, cities like Rajasthan will be able to provide better quality water to its citizens in the long term.
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About the programme
This partnership entails aggregating a team of Singapore experts from relevant public and private sectors, selected by the SCE, the lead agency on this project, to share their experience with the Government of Rajasthan to support its future implementation of water recycle and reuse of plants in the city of Jaipur. Additionally, a series of customised workshops will be conducted in both India and Singapore, to build capabilities and knowledge of 100 officials from the Public Heath Engineering Department and various relevant government departments in India.
About Singapore’s water story
Four decades ago, Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew issued a challenge to the country’s engineers. “Suppose we could capture every drop of rain in Singapore, could we become self-sufficient?” Lee asked of the country’s national water agency PUB. It was a tall order, for Singapore was but a tiny island with no natural resources or abundant water supply to boast of. But today, thanks to Mr Lee’s vision and determination, it has overcome all odds to achieve not only a sustainable water supply but also carve a global reputation as an innovative water leader. Over the decades, Singapore’s resolve to find a solution to its water woes enabled the country to stand at the cutting-edge of water innovation. Today, the Marina Barrage – a dam built across the 350-metre wide Marina Channel to keep out seawater – is Singapore’s 15th reservoir and its first in the city area. The country can now meet 30% of Singapore’s water needs and plans to meet up to 55% by 2060. (Source PUB – Singapore’s national water agency)
Did you know…
In most parts of the world, water is a scarce resource. That might seem strange, because there is so much water on Earth. Almost all the Earth’s water, more than 97 per cent of it, is seawater in the oceans. The rest is called fresh water, because it does not have a high salt content. However, most of the world’s fresh water is frozen solid in large glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. Almost all fresh water available for human consumption is either contained in soil or rock below the surface, or in rivers and lakes.