Singapore could help Colorado's water woes

Innovations in Asia are getting notice in CO

SINGAPORE -- Colorado is facing a looming crisis: too many people and not enough water. Yet, new technology developed and used across the Pacific Ocean could be part of the solution to the struggles in our state.

If you look into the horizon from Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, you will see the vast expanse of water surrounding the island nation.

But despite the volume of sea water, Singapore faces a struggle. The amount of water usable for homes and industry is limited because of storage issues.

Singapore is on a small island and reservoir space is sparse; but the island city-state has developed a solution, a process known as Newater.

Water is recycled and reused at various plants operated by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. It's cleaned and purified using a high-tech system to filter it and ultra-violet light to disinfect it.

This process is used to help provide about 40 percent of Singapore's water supply.

Singapore's Newater can be used for drinking but in most cases, businesses use it to power their factories.

Denver is testing out a similar system — taking used water and making it clean again.

“With the drought and climate change that we're facing right now in Colorado and across the west, it's really important that we take care of our water resources,” said Austa Marie Parker, a water reuse technologist at Carollo Engineers, Inc. in Broomfield.

The local project, known as PureWater, is not a novelty.  It may be a necessity as more people move here and industry grows.

"The most recent state water plan is expecting the population and the water gap to double by 2050, meaning that we're going to need water supplies than we currently have," said Parker.

The cost of this technology will vary from location to location. In addition, Colorado faces storage issues as some reservoirs can be costly to operate. The recycled water technology may provide some fiscal relief.

Singapore, like the U.S., is putting a big emphasis on conservation. That includes everything from shorter showers to energy efficient appliances.   

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