New water projects in Singapore to add jobs, boost economy

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SINGAPORE, May 31, 2011 -- Since 2006, when Singapore was identified as a strategic growth area, its water industry has show significant progress. To date, more than 70 local and international water companies call Singapore home.

Experts say investments by water companies in the period of 2006 to 2010, when fully realized, will add S$590 million of annual value-added to the economy and generate 2,300 professional and skilled jobs. Singapore-based water companies have also done well in serving the international market, with cumulative project value reaching S$8.4 billion* over the same period.

The Environment and Water Industry Program Office (EWI), an inter-agency effort led by PUB, the national water agency, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, will continue to build on the strengths of Singapore's water industry to achieve its target contribution of S$1.7 billion to Singapore's GDP and 11,000 jobs by 2015.

Singapore's status as a global hydrohub is cemented in the development of a strong ecosystem of local and international companies, conducting a range of activities including research and development (R&D), test-bedding, engineering, manufacturing and headquarters operations.

Mr. Yeoh Keat Chuan, Assistant Managing Director, Singapore Economic Development Board, said, "Since the identification of water as a key growth sector in 2006, the industry in Singapore has been transformed to one that is highly vibrant, innovation-driven and global in its reach. We will continue to sharpen Singapore's competitive advantages by providing opportunities across the entire innovation value chain. Singapore aims to be a conducive marketplace where companies can easily establish partnerships in R&D, development and test-bedding of integrated solutions and collective bidding for global projects."

Besides attracting investments into Singapore, the industry has also seen the export of water expertise to key overseas markets such as China and the Middle East by Singapore-based water companies. Today, water treatment technologies developed in Singapore are increasingly being applied in markets overseas. For example, leading global players such as Black & Veatch and CDM from the US are employing expertise gained in Singapore to their other projects around the world.

Said Mr Leong Teng Chau, Divisional Director for Environment and Engineering Services, IE Singapore, "Singapore-based water companies have a proven track record in Singapore which has given them leverage to scale up and replicate their services globally. They are strong system integrators that can design solutions for different water issues faced by municipal and industrial customers. They are also water operators who are involved in the long-term operations, management and maintenance of the water infrastructure to meet the required water standards. We encourage our players to ride on market trends and needs to strengthen their presence in existing markets, and make inroads into newer markets."

Said Mr Ng Han Tong, Director, Industry Development, PUB, "Beyond providing an environment for business and research, Singapore also plays a key role in forging dialogue amongst policymakers, water experts and industry leaders on water issues, challenges and solutions. The Singapore International Water Week adds to Singapore's profile as a global hydrohub by offering a platform for global stakeholders to address challenges and identify solutions at the governance, technology and business levels."

The EWI has focused strongly on providing a complete value chain of innovation opportunities in Singapore, starting from R&D to test-bedding and finally commercialization and export from Singapore. With a research funding of S$330 million from the National Research Foundation, EWI has attracted private sector companies and institutes to undertake R&D activities in Singapore.

Through PUB and other government agencies like JTC Corporation and the Housing & Development Board, Singapore is positioning itself as a "living laboratory" where companies can develop, test-bed and commercialize new-generation water solutions in a real-life environment. In addition, many companies are now using Singapore to commercialize and export their knowhow and solutions globally. Finally, through the funding of graduate scholarships and specialized courses, the EWI will continue to groom specialist manpower to meet the sector's growing needs for talent.

* Overseas projects and values are based on those that are publicly announced and/ or facilitated by IE Singapore.

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