Adequate water supply for everyone is something which we hope the government has gotten right, and I hope we will not be proven wrong, which will be disastrous.
There are reasons to be worried from a glance of this article:
One, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan says the water levels at the Linggiu Reservoir in Johor are at about 55 per cent of normal levels, which is “unprecedented” since the reservoir started its operations in 1995.
I believe the public while not having to panic yet should be asking:
Should we be worried that Singapore too is experiencing an unprecedented surge in our population size?
Is it sound to grow the population when 60 percent of our water need is imported?
Given the ever common extreme weather events that we are facing, such as the extended drought in 2014, can we assume that Johor can continue to supply water to Singapore without disruption?
What is the population growth trend in Johor and the corresponding demand for water in the near future?
Would Johor have sufficient water for its own people while still keeping to the water supply agreement?
In the event of extreme drought conditions in Johor and Singapore, would Johor still be obliged to supply water to Singapore?
On humanitarian grounds, can Johor divert water to save its own people instead of selling water to Singapore? Do we have any legal ground to act when a force majeur is declared by Johor?
Two, Dr Balakrishnan added the situation, though of concern, is not a cause for alarm, as Singapore’s NEWater and desalination plants have been functioning at 90 per cent capacity to make up for the situation.
Should we be alarmed or not?
The Johor water supply is down by 50% and Newater is running at 90% to meet Singapore’s demand for water.
Can the government define the critical points at which we should be worried?
In the near term, the Newater plants can run an additional 10% to reach full capacity, but the Johor reservoir can dip a further 10-50%, depending on weather conditions. What else can we do?
In the event of running Newater at full capacity, would the Newater plants start breaking down like the MRT trains that have been overloaded and under maintained?
What other contingencies plan are there?
As a sceptic, it is hard to believe that the government has gotten everything wrong except for water planning. Public transport is overcrowded and breaking down, bed crunches at hospitals, delayed response to housing shortage, persistent high COE and jams that never go away, and the list goes on.
But for our sake of survival, on this instant, I really wish that my worries are unfounded and that somehow the government has planned for enough water for us. But for goodness sake, if there is going to be a threat to our survival, please tell us now.