Remarks by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at Binnies’ 100th Anniversary in Singapore, on 5 December 2022
Her Excellency Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore
Dr Alan Ryder, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, RSK Group
1 Good evening. I am pleased to join you to commemorate Binnies’ 100th Anniversary in Singapore. Let me first congratulate you on this significant milestone.
Binnies and Singapore’s Water Story
2 Singapore and Binnies have enjoyed a longstanding partnership dating back to the early 1900s. This partnership was significant in laying down the very foundations for Singapore’s water and wastewater infrastructure – then and now – even as we continue to develop new infrastructure to strengthen the resiliency of our water system.
3 As a key partner to PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency for years, Binnies has had a hand in many critical infrastructural projects that provided clean water and sanitation in Singapore’s early nation building efforts, and placing Singapore in the forefront of global water resilience excellence. In the 1920s, Binnies was commissioned to work on the Gunung Pulai Dam in Johor which delivered water to Singapore. In the 1970s, Binnies engineered the Upper Pierce Scheme. And at the turn of the millennium, Binnies helped design Singapore’s first large-scale desalination plant, SingSpring.
4 In this regard, Binnies has been an integral part of Singapore’s Water Story.
Climate Change and Water Sustainability
5 The centrality of water to human well-being and economic growth remains as crucial today as it did a century ago. But this critical role is threatened by the onslaught of climate change which has created new challenges and impacts to water failure. Climate change impacts are projected to result in more frequent and prolonged droughts which will threaten our water supply, as well as more intense rainfall which cause floods.
6 Singapore is playing our part to address these challenges and advance the sustainability agenda. Last year, we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, our whole-of-nation roadmap to achieve sustainable development.
7 At the recently concluded UN Climate Change Conference, or COP27, Singapore submitted our strengthened long-term low-emissions development strategy with a clear goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. As an alternative-energy disadvantaged nation, aligning our international commitments with our domestic water needs will not be easy. In this regard, the ongoing chapter of Singapore’s evolving Water Story is to further enhance our water security while reducing our energy intake and carbon footprint.
8 Singapore is neither an optimist nor a pessimist in facing this challenge. Instead, we choose to be a possibilist! For instance, Tuas Nexus, the world’s first energy self-sufficient integrated waste and water treatment facility, will enhance resource efficiency by tapping on synergies between the water, waste, and energy sectors. And the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, will have the capability to treat both seawater and freshwater depending on prevailing weather conditions, making it more energy-efficient.
9 Furthermore, despite being land-scarce, we are challenging our limitations by embarking on ambitious sustainability solutions. Singapore is now home to one of the world’s largest inland floating solar PV systems, occupying 45 hectares in Singapore’s Tengeh Reservoir. The energy generated from this solar farm is sufficient to power PUB’s local water treatment plants, thereby lowering the carbon footprint in our water operations. These infrastructure investments and technological possibilities and opportunities strengthen Singapore’s water resilience in the face of rising water needs and climate change.
10 Singapore is pleased to have partnered Binnies on water sustainability projects, including those that I mentioned earlier. As part of the RSK Group, Binnies has contributed actively to the local water scene, including being an active member of the Singapore Water Association, and a Founding Sponsor of the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW).
11 At this year’s edition of the SIWW, Minister Grace Fu and I had the pleasure of launching the RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence with Dr Alan Ryder. The Centre consolidates expertise from over 175 environmental businesses under the RSK Group to provide practical, sustainable solutions for industries and governments in the Asia Pacific in digital water, carbon accounting, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. Collectively, these efforts will chart the path forward, lowering our carbon footprint towards greater water resilience and sustainability.
12 As we celebrate Binnies’ 100th anniversary in Singapore, I am confident new opportunities will abound under the RSK Group. Singapore looks forward to working with Binnies and the RSK Group to explore new possibilities, harness new technology and innovation to accelerate and scale up efforts to build a sustainable Singapore.
13 I wish all of you at Binnies and the RSK Group the very best in your journey ahead, and for your next centennial to be as impactful and significant as your first.
14 Thank you.