Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Drought in Singapore by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what is the Ministry’s definition of a drought in Singapore; (b) whether the Ministry expects Singapore to experience a drought in the near future; and (c) what are the Ministry’s plans to cope with a drought.
1 The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) defines a drought as a period of at least three consecutive months where monthly rainfall is more than 50% below the long-term 30-year average. Over the last forty years, Singapore has experienced one episode of drought, which had occurred in 1983. Another measurement of dry condition is dry spell which is defined as a period of at least 15 consecutive days with daily total rainfall of less than one millimetre. And we have experienced three dry spells in the past decade, two in 2014 and one in 2019.
2 With climate change, Singapore will continue to experience more extreme weather patterns, which can include more frequent and prolonged droughts. It is thus important for Singapore to ensure a resilient and sustainable water supply.
3 PUB, our national water agency, adopts a long-term water supply strategy. Over the last few decades, we have built a robust and diversified water supply with Four National Taps, namely catchment water, imported water and the two weather-resilient sources of NEWater and desalinated water. We recently opened our fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island in April 2022 and will be expanding our NEWater production capacities by constructing Changi NEWater Factory 3, which will be ready by 2025. Together, our Four National Taps have ensured that Singapore’s water supply remained resilient to various disruptions.
4 Even as the Government continues to invest in our water infrastructure, everyone must continue to do our part to conserve water. This will go a long way in ensuring resilience in our water supply under all circumstances.