Water, Maritime and Circular Economy - Singapore

Water, Maritime and Circular Economy

Singapore and the Netherlands have strong relations and  the governments, private sectors and knowledge institutions collaborate on multiple levels. Both countries share a special bond with water and build on broad knowledge and experience in delta- and water technologies. Singapore strives to be self-sufficient in the provision of safe drinking water and is looking for innovative technology, including Dutch technology, to do so.

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'Smart Water': Optiqua Eventlab System

An example of a collaboration between Singapore, the Netherlands and Belgium in this area is the usage of AI to improve water safety. The Watergroep, ZWEEC Analytics Pte Ltd, Demcon Advanced Mechatronics, HAL24K Water and Optiqua B.V. are developing a system to monitor water quality by combining real-time monitoring, event detection and event classification by using AI. Since its national water authority (PUB) launched its SMART PUB roadmap in 2018, they have been open towards international partnerships to tap into smart water technologies to help Singapore in water resource management, greater efficiencies, faster response time in planning, operations and service delivery.

Singapore needs to reinforce its coasts to prepare for rising sea levels and has made multi billion dollars of funding available for this purpose. The country is currently looking at options of combining hard engineering solutions with nature-based solutions. A collaboration example in this area is a site-specific study along Singapore’s City-East Coast, performed by Royal Haskoning DHV and Singapore-based digital water scale-up Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i).


Image: ©Housing & Development Board

Singapore has the ambition to become a centre of excellence within the next 15 years in the area of maritime R&D.

Under its Maritime Transformation Programme, its Port regulator, Maritime Port Authority (MPA) created MPA Living Lab to deepen maritime R&D capabilities. Maritime technology enterprises and start-ups could receive support from industry wide acceleration programme at PIER 71 to develop innovative solutions. 3 Maritime Centers of Excellence (CoE) have also been set up within local institutes of Higher Learning to support the Sea Transport ITM innovation thrust in 3 strategic areas of: Next Generation Ports/Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development and Maritime Safety.

The Maritime Port Authority invested S$ 100 million in the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative, running from 2019 to Dec 2024 to promote decarbonisation of shipping and comprises of : Green Ship Programme/Green Port Programme/Green Energy & Technology Programme/Green Awareness Programme. This is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of maritime activities. This is consistent with the priorities identified by the Dutch ‘top sector’ maritime: 'Maritime World’ and ‘Winning at Sea'.

Opportunities can be found in drinking water technology, green shipping, flood control and floating buildings.

Circular Economy

The Dutch government has set an ambitious target and aims to be 100% circular in 2050, 50% in 2030. Focusing on five economic sectors, food and biomass, plastics, manufacturing, construction and consumer goods. In Singapore the government has two visions for a sustainable future. The Zero Waste Strategy, aimed at reducing waste and increase recycling and the Green Plan 2030. The latter is the combined strategy of five ministries to address climate change, maintain Singapore as a green, liveable city and reduce its dependency on other countries for water, energy and food. It outlines green targets under the pillars City in Nature, Sustainable Living, Energy Reset, Green Economy & Government and Resilient Future. Investments in infrastructure and R&D create opportunities for solutions in circularity, decarbonisation, electrification and energy efficiency to help Singapore meet the goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In 2017 a Dutch public private consortium decided to collaboratively work on the topic of circular economy in Singapore, to build a network and develop solutions matching ambitions of both countries. There is a strong focus on integrated solutions and recovering resources within the water-energy-food nexus. The cluster has developed into a circular network, So Circular, launched at the end of 2021. The goal of the network is to connect people active in Singapore on the topic of circular economy, highlight and showcase solutions and access to Community of Practice networks on specific topics. If you are interested to join this network and find partners, connect with us.