Phase 2 of used water ‘superhighway’ on track for completion in 2025

Cheryl Chiew20 Apr 2021

About 150ha of land has been freed up thanks to the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System project. Phase 1 saw 108km of tunnels built while Phase 2 will see 100km built. Source: PUB

Nearly a quarter of the second phase of used water “superhighway” has been completed, making it on track for completion by 2025, reported Channel News Asia (CNA), citing national water agency PUB.

Construction of Phase 2 of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) started in 2017. Of the 100km-long water conveyance system, about 24km has been built as of this month.

The system, first conceived over 20 years ago as part of efforts to enhance the city-state’s water resilience, utilises deep tunnel sewers to convey used water into centralised water reclamation plants situated at Singapore’s coastal areas.

The used water is treated and purified into an “ultra-clean, high grade” reclaimed water, also known as NEWater.

In 2019, Yong Wei Hin, Director of DTSS Phase 2, said the system would support 55% of the water needs of Singapore.

The first phase of the DTSS spans 108km long. It was completed in 2008 at the cost of $3.4 billion, serving Singapore’s eastern portion.

Phase 2 of the project, on the other hand, will span 100km of Singapore’s western part, covering the downtown area and the upcoming developments like the Jurong Lake District and Tengah.

Costing about $6.5 billion, Phase 2 of the DTSS comprises 60km of link sewers and 40km of deep tunnels and is also expected to support the growth of industrial developments located in the west.

“Once DTSS Phase 2 is in place, the existing conventional water reclamation plants at Ulu Pandan and Jurong, as well as intermediate pumping stations, will be progressively phased out to free up land for higher value development,” said PUB as quoted by CNA.

The agency noted that the land to be freed up is about 150ha, equivalent to around 214 football fields.

The completed DTSS will transport collected water from the whole of Singapore into three water reclamation plants in Kranji, Changi and Tuas for treatment.

Earlier in the month, the $10 billion DTSS was identified as one of the infrastructure projects eligible for the proposed Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (SINGA).

If the Act is passed, it will allow the government to borrow up to $90 billion for “nationally significant” infrastructure.

Although Singapore had borrowed in preceding decades to fund projects like the first MRT lines and Changi Airport, the government was able to use its growing revenues by the 1990s to pay for such infrastructure.

“But what is happening now is that our needs have grown, the infrastructure is much more complex today than it was before,” said Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah during a visit to a DTSS worksite.

“There are financial pressures and constraints. We have an ageing population. So we have to think about how we’re going to finance nationally significant infrastructure,” she added as quoted by CNA.

If SINGA is passed, it will require the infrastructure to have a cost of at least $4 billion and for it to be available for use for at least 50 years. The infrastructure should also support the city-state’s national productivity or its environmental, economic or social sustainability.

Indranee noted that the DTSS is a “good illustration” of infrastructure that would benefit from SINGA since they expect the system to last for at least 100 years, benefitting several generations.


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Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email:


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