Solar driven desalination at Marina Barrage, Singapore
Fifty years ago Singapore had to ration water, and its smelly rivers were devoid of fish and choked with waste from shipbuilding, pig farms and toilets that emptied directly into streams.
But it's a very different story today. The world's most densely populated country now collects rainwater from two-thirds of its land, recycles wastewater and is even developing technology that mimics human kidneys to desalinate seawater.
As governments around the world wrestle with water crises from droughts to floods, many are looking to the tiny Asian city-state of Singapore for solutions. In many countries, a flood prevention agency focuses on quickly draining away storm water, while another manages drinking water. In Singapore, PUB "manages the entire water loop", Madhavan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Its aim is to capture every drop of rain it can and recycle as much used water as possible. "That means that ideally, we don't sell you water. We rent you water. We take it back, we clean it. We're like a laundry service. Then you can multiply your supply of water many, many times," Madhavan said. "The water that you drink today is the same water that dinosaurs drank. We don't create or destroy water. It just goes around. So we are using engineering to shorten the loop."
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