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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Low Carbon Water Industry in Singapore

Water is a critical resource in Singapore due to its high population density. The scarce land area severely restricted the island’s ability in collecting surface water. On the other hand, the island is vulnerable to severe climate change effects, such as sea-level rise and flooding. Investigation into low carbon water industry is important to sustain the development of Singapore. The research will focus on providing a low carbon study on the water industry by linking the carbon footprint to water activities. Carbon efficient measures will also be identified, analysed and prioritised. The dissertation clarified the relationship between water supply and demand through examining public data. The Singapore water industry energy consumption was calculated using process specific energy intensity factors, and subsequently calculated the water activities carbon footprint. IPCC greenhouse gas inventory guidelines are utilised to determine the GHG emissions related to wastewater treatment. Analytic Hierarchy Process and future projection model were utilised to understand the feasibility and potential of low carbon measures. By analysing the public data, the capacity of water supply, transport and treatment process is discovered and presented in one single diagram. The water industry carbon footprint is calculated to be 957,468 tCO2e/year. The calculated carbon intensity data depicted which water activity to be the least carbon-efficient process. The AHP revealed that for Singapore application, water conservation is more feasible compared to high efficiency desalination and reservoir expansion. The future projection model analysis showed that the successful implementation of low carbon measures could reduce the water industry carbon emissions by 12%. Singapore government should be more ambitious with its water conservation target, while at the same time relentlessly implement other low carbon measures. The nation’s global water hub can also be helpful in providing mitigation knowledge to the international community.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.