The Johor River meets about 40 percent of Singapore’s water needs and remains the most cost-efficient source of water / photo:

Singapore and Malaysia together agree on the importance of ensuring reliable and sufficient water supply from the Johor River, both Prime Ministers of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong and of Malaysia Najib Razak said on 13 December at a press conference after their annual leaders’ retreat.

Both PMs credited the water authorities for the ongoing cooperation, and urged them to continue this excellent working relationship.

The Johor River supplies a significant part of Singapore’s daily water needs, at present both Singapore and Malaysia are working together on a Johor River Barrage project to reduce salinity and take the full capacity of the river. This is expected to increase the yield of the Johor River.

Mr Lee said, “I’m very happy that the Johor River barrage is now in its final stages of completion.” “It’s already making a difference and helping to improve the yield of the river, and our agencies are working closely together. And that means on our side the PUB, on Johor’s side the BAKAJ (water regulatory body Badan Kawal Selia Air Johor) and on the federal level, KeTTHA (Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water),” he mentioned.

Johor River Barrage / photo:
Johor River Barrage / photo:

Mr Najib said, “We’ve agreed to work closely together to make sure that Singapore gets its share of water under the (1962) water agreement.”

Under the 1962 Water Agreement, 250 million gallons of raw water can be drawn by Singapore from Johor, while Singapore is obliged to sell back five million gallons of treated water.

But water levels in the Linggiu Reservoir fell to new lows this year – with water stock there at about 26 per cent – and PUB has provided Johor instead with up to 16 million gallons a day.

Mr Najib said he noted that there were some obstacles, like the effects of climate change that has affected the supply of water to Singapore. But he gave the assurance that both countries will work together to resolve the problem.

Mr Najib also informed that the Johor River Barrage project will be operational by March 2017.

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