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The 3rd National Tap

The NEWater process recycles our treated used water into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water, cushioning our water supply against dry weather and moving Singapore towards water sustainability. 

There are currently 5 NEWater plants in operation.

Journey of NEWater

NEWater’s genesis dates back to the 1970s, when the Singapore government commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of producing reclaimed water. Although the study found it was technically possible, the technology’s high cost and unproven reliability then were insurmountable concerns.

By the 1990s, however, membrane technology’s cost and performance had improved considerably. Other countries such as the United States were also increasingly using it for water treatment and reclamation.

In 1998, PUB set up a team to test the latest proven membrane technology’s use in water reclamation for potable purposes. Two years later, it commissioned a full-scale demonstration plant that could produce 10,000 cubic metres daily.

The high-grade, reclaimed water was named NEWater, and a battery of tests and audits showed it was a safe and sustainable water source. 

An international group of experts in engineering, biomedical sciences, chemistry and water technology also found that NEWater’s quality was consistently safe and high, and well within the WHO and USEPA’s requirements for drinking water. They recommended it for indirect potable use, to be introduced into raw water reservoirs. The blended water undergoes naturalisation and further treatment in conventional waterworks to create drinking water.

In 2003, we launched NEWater to the Singaporean public, with the opening of the first two NEWater plants at Bedok and Kranji, and the NEWater Visitor Centre, a water museum to showcase our journey towards water sustainability. 

NEWater Visitor Centre

NEWater Technology

Stage 1 – Microfiltration / Ultrafiltration
The first stage of the NEWater production process is known as Microfiltration (MF) or Ultrafiltration (UF). In this process, the treated used water is passed through membranes to filter out microscopic particles and bacteria.

Stage 2 – Reverse Osmosis
The second stage of the NEWater production process is known as Reverse Osmosis (RO). In RO, a semi- permeable membrane is used. The semi-permeable membrane has very small pores which only allow very small molecules like water molecules to pass through. Consequently, undesirable contaminants including viruses cannot pass through the membrane.

Stage 3 – Ultraviolet Disinfection
After the RO stage, the water is already of a high grade water quality. The third stage of the NEWater production process is ultraviolet or UV disinfection which is capable of killing both bacteria and viruses. This process acts as an additional safety measure to guarantee the purity of NEWater.

NEWater Usage

Non-Potable Use

As it is ultra-clean, NEWater is used mainly for industrial and air-con cooling purposes at wafer fabrication plants, industrial estates and commercial buildings. The biggest users of NEWater are wafer fabrication plants, which require water quality that is even more stringent than water for drinking.

NEWater is delivered to industrial customers via a dedicated pipe network.

Indirect Potable Use

During dry periods, NEWater is added to our reservoirs to blend with raw water. The raw water from the reservoir is treated at the waterworks before it is supplied to consumers as tap water.


NEWater undergoes rigorous audit processes every year comprising local and international experts in engineering, water chemistry, toxicology and microbiology.

The quality of NEWater consistently exceeds the requirements stipulated in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Drinking Water Standards.

Click here​ to find out about PUB NEWater Quality.​


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