Question from Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in light of the water level at Johor's Linggiu Reservoir falling below 50% due to the ongoing dry weather, what plans does the Ministry have to work with Malaysia to increase the yield of the Johor River, which has its water flow regulated by the Linggiu Reservoir, to ensure a sustainable water supply for both countries.
The water level at Linggiu Reservoir has fallen from 72% at the start of 2019 to below 50% in September 2019. While the water level has since risen slightly to above 50% in October 2019, Linggiu Reservoir has been slow to recover because more water is being drawn from the Johor River than is sustainable. This is exacerbated during dry weather, as PUB needs to discharge more water from Linggiu Reservoir to support water abstractions from the Johor River by both Malaysia and Singapore. Malaysia has built water plants upstream of the JRWW, which have increased the abstraction of water from the Johor River beyond what is sustainable.
2 Singapore built the Linggiu Reservoir at a cost of more than $300 million to enable reliable abstraction of water at PUB’s Johor River Waterworks (JRWW). If the Linggiu Reservoir fails, the Johor River flows during dry periods will not be sufficient to meet the abstractions of Johor’s water treatment plants and Singapore’s JRWW. Singapore’s right to abstract our full entitlement of 250 million gallons of water per day under the 1962 Water Agreement will then be compromised.
3 As mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 9th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in April 2019, Singapore and Malaysia have an interest to work together to ensure a sustainable water supply for both sides. MEWR and PUB have been engaging our Malaysian counterparts at both the federal and state levels through regular meetings and exchanges. Both sides have noted Singapore and Malaysia’s mutual interest in identifying appropriate and timely measures, including additional schemes, to increase the yield of the Johor River.
4 Singapore and Malaysia have long-standing cooperation on water issues and Singapore will continue to work with Malaysia to achieve mutually-beneficial outcomes and ensure a sustainable water supply for both countries.