The Singapore Water Story
Sustainable Development in an Urban City-State
Routledge – 2013 – 288 pages
Singapore´s journey during the past 45 years is an outstanding example that, in spite of multiple hardships, pragmatic policies, clear visions, long-term planning, forward-looking strategies and political will, as well as a relentless urge to improve, can result in strong foundations for sustainable development.
This book describes the journey of Singapore´s development and the fundamental role that water has had in shaping it. What makes this case so unique is that the quest for self-sufficiency in terms of water availability in a fast-changing urban context has been crucial to the way development policies and agendas have been planned throughout the years. The authors analyse plans, policies, institutions, laws and regulations, water demand and water supply strategies, water quality and water conservation considerations, partnerships and importance of the media. They assess overall how all these issues have evolved in response to the dynamic needs of the city-state.
The study of Singapore shows how a dynamic society can address development without losing its focus on the environment. In the city-state, environmental concerns in general, and water concerns in particular, have played a major role in its transformation from a third word to a first world country. How and why this transformation took place is the main focus of this authoritative book.
"The Singapore Water Story is a story of how Singapore successfully draws on clear vision, long term planning, constant innovation, a practical and effective approach and a national commitment to overcome the challenge of limited fresh water resources to develop a sustainable water strategy. In this remarkable book, the co-authors authoritatively and objectively analyse the various success factors in Singapore's sustainable water strategy and draws valuable lessons from Singapore's experience. It is an essential read for all water practitioners." – Yong Soon Tan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore 2004-2010
"Water development horizons are beyond the life of most governments. The book’s comprehensive story of Singapore illustrates the importance of consistent long term policies based on a holistic approach. Singapore has achieved sustainability through continuity of multiple supply source strategies and, very importantly, demand side management policies including investment to minimise non-revenue water." – Michael Rouse, Professor, University of Oxford
"The Singapore Water Story shows that Leadership and Commitment right from the highest levels in government down to the utility are critical for success. Empowering a capable workforce at the Public Utilities Board translated vision into outputs, 'safe drinking water, proper sanitation, and clean rivers' in Singapore. This book is a valuable knowledge product and recommended for wider knowledge sharing." – Bindu N. Lohani, Vice President, Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank
"…this book should be read by policy makers and environmental campaigners alike for its insights into Singapore’s remarkable water policy." - Mark Clifford, Executive Director of the Asia Business Council, in the Asian Review of Books
Introduction 1. Setting the Foundations 2. Water and Urban Development 3. Regulatory Instruments for Water Pollution Control 4. Managing Water Demands 5. Education and Information Strategies for Water Conservation 6. Cleaning the Singapore River and Kallang Basin 7. Views of the Media on the Singapore–Malaysia Water Relationship 8. Looking ahead
Cecilia Tortajada is President, Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico.
Yugal Joshi works with Northern Railways, Delhi, India, and formerly as a Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.
Asit K. Biswas is Distinguished Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and founder of the Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico.