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PUB enhances water efficiency fund with more funding areas, shorter payout periods

NATIONAL water agency PUB has enhanced its Water Efficiency Fund (WEF) with expanded funding areas, higher funding amounts and shorter disbursement periods, it said on Saturday.

Expanded funding areas include a new category for water-efficient equipment, where companies can receive up to S$300,000, or up to 50 per cent of the cost of installing water-efficient equipment such as commercial dishwashers and washer extractors for their business.

For existing categories such as water efficiency assessment, PUB will co-fund up to half of the total qualifying costs instead of just the water audit cost for existing categories such as water efficiency assessment, capped at S$30,000.

Water recycling initiatives and projects using alternate water sources could also receive higher funding amounts from higher incentives per cubic metre of potable water, NEWater and industrial water saved, accrued over a longer period of up to 15 years from seven years previously. This will be capped at S$1 million per project.

PUB said the incentive rates to be applied per cubic metre of water saved will be increased to S$0.71 from S$0.60 for potable water, to S$0.45 from S$0.30 for NEWater and to S$0.37 from S$0.10 for industrial water.

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The national water agency has also shortened the grant disbursement period to three years from seven years previously for water recycling initiatives and the use of alternate water sources.

Companies on these projects will receive half of the grant amount upon commissioning the plant and will receive the other half upon satisfactory performance in the third year.

Pilot projects will also get funding of up to 50 per cent of the project cost, capped at $50,000, upon the submission and acceptance of the feasibility report for full-scale implementation, instead of after the full-scale recycling plant has been commissioned.

The enhancements to the WEF comes as total water demand is expected to almost double by 2060, with the non-domestic sector accounting for most of the increase in demand, PUB said.

The non-domestic sector accounts for more than half of Singapore's total water demand which is 430 million gallons per day - enough to fill 782 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Ridzuan Ismail, PUB's director of water supply (network), said the agency enhanced the WEF to help water-intensive companies defray onboarding costs and facilitate cash flow management. This ultimately reduces their water consumption, achieve cost savings and greater business sustainability, he said.

800 Super, which was delisted from the Singapore Exchange in August 2019, bagged a grant under the WEF in September to build its first water recycling system expected to be ready in the third quarter of 2021.

The WEF was introduced in 2007 to encourage companies to manage their water demand. It co-funds water efficiency projects that yield at least 10 per cent reduction in water consumption or annual water savings of at least 6,000 cubic metres. Such projects include feasibility studies, water audits, recycling efforts and the use of alternate sources of water.

To date, PUB has doled out over S$24 million in funding across more than 350 projects.

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