El Nino and Singapore’s water supply from Malaysia

The continuing El Nino weather pattern is expected to affect Singapore major water supplier, Malaysia .This development has raised concerns as the island republic usually draws up to about 60 percent of its water needs, from the Johor River in Malaysia. However since 2014, water levels in the reservoir have been steadily depleting and have now reached a historic low of 54.5 percent of its capacity. It has been reported that Singapore’s national water agency PUB had to stop extracting water from the river temporarily 77 times this year due to the low level.

singapore water supply

In response to this situation, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday stated that Singapore may have to introduce water restrictions, such as banning the use of water jets to clean common areas, said Dr Balakrishnan at a press conference at the reservoir. He added, however, that water rationing, will not be necessary for now. This is because Singapore has been keeping its own reservoirs full by ramping up water supply from its seawater and used water treatment plants. Singapore can produce 30 million desalinated imperial gallons (140,000 m3) of water each day and meets 10% of the country’s water needs.

For the record, El Nino hit Singapore closest neighbour, Malaysia severely in 2014. Major cities in Malaysia involving Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Penang experienced serious water shortage in mid-2014 . Majority population were forced to take water rationing for more than two months during the period.

Apart from the drastic weather change, other factors including uncontrolled deforestation and increasing numbers of polluted rivers in Peninsular Malaysia has played a major role in reducing clean water supply to the country.

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