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Water-stressed Singapore taps into water solutions

A crack of thunder booms as dozens of screens in a locked office flash between live video of cars splashing through wet roads, drains sapping the streets dry, and reservoirs collecting the precious rainwater across the tropical island of Singapore.

A team of government employees intently monitors the water, which will be collected and purified for use by the country’s six million residents.

The room is part of Singapore’s cutting-edge water management system that combines technology, diplomacy and community involvement to help one of the most water-stressed nations in the world secure its water future.

The country’s innovations have attracted the attention of other water-scarce nations seeking solutions.

A small city state island located in Southeast Asia, Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet. In recent decades the island has also transformed into a modern international business hub, with a rapidly developing economy.

The boom has caused the country’s water consumption to increase by over twelve times since the nation’s independence from Malaysia in 1965, and the economy is only expected to keep growing.

For years Malaysian politicians have targeted the water deal, sparking political tensions with Singapore. The Malaysian government has claimed the price at which Singapore purchases water – set decades ago – is too low and should be renegotiated, while the Singaporean government argues its treatment and resale of the water to Malaysia is done at a generous price.

And climate change, which brings increased intense weather, rising seas and a rise in average temperatures, is expected to exacerbate water insecurity, according to research done by the Singaporean government.

“For us, water is not an