Each day, Singapore goes through around 430 million gallons (roughly 1.6 billion litres) of water. This figure is predicted to climb by 100 percent over the next 40 years. This immense water consumption is putting a lot of demand on the city-state to confront developing anxieties towards a global water shortage. In an effort to handle the situation, Singapore is creating new technology in preparation for the upcoming difficulties regarding the acquisition of clean water.
“Singapore truly has become a global water hub,” says the executive director of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute at the Nanyang Technological University, Shane Snyder. “But as it stands, it imports approximately 40 percent of its water today. And with climate change, that water has become far less dependable.”
Unstable water source
Fast growing urban developments and increasing global temperatures are creating more challenges to utilize natural water sources. Approximately 25 percent of the population resides in high water stress environments. Authorities on the matter say that our global water consumption is progressing in an unsustainable manner.
Singapore – with a population of over 5 million people – possesses an abundance of reservoirs, fountains, as well as other items such as the highest indoor waterfall on the planet: a Rain Vortex 130 feet (39.6 meter) high, which pumps around 10,000 gallons (37,800 litres) each minute. However, they don’t have any natural water sources and are forced to depend on recycled water and imports from surrounding regions.
The Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute is one of a few places that are working on an answer to Singapore’s water problem. The aim is to establish programs that can be implemented throughout the city.
“What we have become used to as reliable water, may quickly change – so we have to be prepared, we have to be thinking about the infrastructure in advance,” said Snyder. “There’s a big drive to become water independent to control our own future, and that is largely dependent on the technologies we’re developing.”
According to the university, one of the creations – a small sponge-like carbon fiber aerogel – can purify water on a significantly large scale. It absorbs a little less than 200 times its weight in waste, contaminants, and microplastics.