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Is drinking tap water in Singapore safe Will it make you sick

Is drinking tap water in Singapore safe? Will it make you sick?

Singapore water is safe to drink, won’t cause you diarrhea, and won’t kill you.

In fact, according to a report by Mail Job, the Lion City stands out as one of the few countries where you can confidently take a sip straight from the tap without worrying about your health.

Behind this assurance lies a sophisticated purification process, ensuring every tap water drop meets stringent quality standards.

But while it’s great to hear that Singapore’s tap water is safe to drink, let’s delve deeper into what makes it so reliable.

Where does tap water in Singapore come from?

Where does tap water in Singapore come from

Singapore’s limited land area and lack of natural freshwater sources make it essential to diversify water sources to ensure water security.

As such, the country meets its water needs through filtered rainfall, imported water, reclaimed water, and desalinated seawater.

Filtered Rainfall

Rainfall serves as a primary water source for Singapore, with the country experiencing substantial precipitation each year.

To harness this invaluable resource, the country has implemented an extensive infrastructure comprising drains, canals, and reservoirs strategically positioned to collect rainwater efficiently.

These systems are meticulously designed to channel rainwater from urban areas and catchments into storage facilities, carefully managed and filtered for various uses.

Imported Water

Singapore’s geographical constraints and lack of natural water sources have led to a strategic reliance on imported water to meet its growing demand.

The primary source of imported water comes from neighboring Malaysia, with which Singapore has longstanding agreements for water supply. Under these agreements, the country purchases a significant portion of its water from Malaysia.

The imported water undergoes rigorous treatment at local water treatment plants upon arrival.

Then, the treatment facilities employ advanced technologies and stringent protocols to purify the water – removing impurities and contaminants.

Once treated, the water meets the country’s stringent quality standards and is deemed safe for consumption.

Reclaimed Water (NEWater)

Singapore has made significant strides in adopting modern water treatment technologies to reinforce its water security.

Among these innovations is NEWater, a premium-grade reclaimed water sourced from meticulously treated wastewater. It undergoes a rigorous purification process that incorporates membrane and ultraviolet technologies.

These advanced methods effectively remove impurities and contaminants, resulting in water surpassing conventional cleanliness standards.

Despite its unconventional source, NEWater emerges as a safe and ultra-clean drinking water option, meeting the stringent quality criteria set by regulatory bodies.

Desalinated Seawater

With limited natural freshwater reserves, Singapore has turned to the vast expanse of the sea to meet its growing water needs.

Desalination plants dot the coastline and employ advanced technologies to convert seawater into clean, potable water.

Through reverse osmosis, salt and other impurities are removed, leaving fresh water suitable for consumption.

This strategic investment in desalination diversifies Singapore’s water sources and enhances its water resilience in climate change and fluctuating rainfall patterns.

Who is the regulator of tap water quality in Singapore?

Singapore’s reputation for safe tap water results from strategic planning, investment in infrastructure, and stringent regulatory measures implemented by the country’s water agency, Public Utilities Board (PUB).

PUB maintains a comprehensive grip on the nation’s water infrastructure from the initial water collection to its purification, distribution, and eventual wastewater management.

Additionally, this agency ensures a sustainable and high-quality water supply for Singapore and sets a gold standard for water management practices globally.

Tap Water Quality Monitoring Stages in Singapore

Tap Water Quality Monitoring Stages in Singapore

The water in Singapore undergoes a multi-step purification process, which includes coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection.

The water is then stored in covered reservoirs and distributed through a network of pipes to homes and businesses throughout the country.


In this tap water quality monitoring stage in Singapore, chemicals are carefully added to the water strategically chosen to neutralize and aggregate fine particles and other suspended substances.

This chemical treatment causes these particles to clump together, forming larger, more easily removable masses. By doing so, the coagulation process aids in the subsequent stages of water purification by facilitating the removal of these aggregated impurities.

As the particles coalesce, they become heavier and settle more readily during sedimentation, which is the next step in the purification process. 


This stage acts as a primary defense against particulate impurities, ensuring that the water emerging from the tanks is of much higher quality than before.

After the coagulation, the water is directed into sedimentation tanks, allowing it to rest undisturbed. 

As the water sits, gravity pulls the coagulated particles – now heavier and clumped together to settle at the bottom of the tanks. This settling process effectively separates suspended solids from the water, such as dirt, silt, and organic matter.

By allowing these contaminants to settle out naturally, sedimentation significantly improves the clarity and cleanliness of the water.


Once the water undergoes sedimentation, it enters the filtration stage, a critical step in Singapore’s tap water purification process.

Here, the water flows through filtration media designed to capture and remove any remaining impurities. These filtration media typically include layers of sand, gravel, and activated carbon – each serving a specific function in the purification process.

Sand and gravel act as physical barriers, trapping larger particles and sediment that may have escaped the sedimentation tanks. This mechanical filtration helps clarify the water further, ensuring it is visually clear and free from visible contaminants.

In addition to mechanical filtration, activated carbon is crucial in removing dissolved organic compounds, chemicals, and odors from the water.

Activated carbon has a porous structure that absorbs impurities, effectively purifying the water and improving its taste and odor.

These filtration media remove many impurities, including particles, bacteria, and organic matter. This results in water that is not only clearer but also safer for consumption. 


The focus of this final stage in ensuring the quality and safety of tap water in Singapore is eradicating any lingering microorganisms that might threaten human health. 

Commonly, chlorine or other disinfectants are employed for this purpose. These chemicals act swiftly and effectively, targeting bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in the water.

By neutralizing these microorganisms, disinfection guarantees that the water emerging from your tap is clean and safe for consumption.

Other Tap Water Monitoring Practices in Singapore

Other Tap Water Monitoring Practices in Singapore

In Singapore, tap water undergoes rigorous analysis to ensure its safety and quality. 

Let’s take a closer look at each practice:

Continuous Sampling and Analysis

PUB takes a proactive approach by continuously sampling and analyzing Singapore’s extensive water distribution network. 

These samples undergo meticulous analysis to assess key parameters for determining water quality. No aspect is left unchecked from pH levels to chlorine concentrations, turbidity, and microbial contaminants.

This real-time monitoring system serves as a vigilant guardian, providing invaluable insights into the health of Singapore’s water supply.

With this data at their fingertips, PUB can swiftly identify deviations from established standards and take prompt corrective measures. This ensures that the water flowing from taps remains consistently safe and pristine.

Public Reporting and Transparency

Public reporting and transparency reflect the commitment of the PUB to keep Singaporean citizens informed and engaged about the quality of the tap water supply.

PUB diligently publishes water quality reports regularly, ensuring accessibility to the public. These reports serve as comprehensive resources, offering detailed insights into various aspects of water quality management.

Additionally, the reports outline regulatory compliance measures, highlighting PUB’s adherence to stringent quality standards set by international authorities.

If any concerns or issues are identified during the monitoring process, the reports document the actions PUB took to address them promptly and effectively.

International Standards Compliance

Singapore’s commitment to water quality extends beyond its borders, as it aligns itself with stringent international standards set by esteemed organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

These standards serve as benchmarks for excellence in drinking tap water quality, including a comprehensive range of parameters from chemical composition to microbial contamination levels. 

This dedication to international standards underscores Singapore’s position as a water management leader and its unwavering commitment to providing clean, safe drinking water to its populace.

Should you still test the quality of your tap water at home?

Should you still test the quality of your tap water at home

While Singapore maintains high tap water quality standards, you should still test the water at home for added peace of mind.

Testing it at home can provide valuable insights if you have specific concerns about your water supply or if you notice any unusual changes in water quality.

There are home water testing kits that are readily available for purchase. They can detect contaminants such as lead, bacteria, and heavy metals.

Better safe than sorry.

Overall, drinking tap water in Singapore is generally safe and unlikely to make you sick, but this doesn’t necessarily equate to being “healthy.”

Also, not all individuals are comfortable consuming tap water straight from the faucet.

Some may have personal preferences or concerns about taste, odor, or perceived safety, leading them to seek alternative drinking water sources.

Regardless of personal preferences, maintaining awareness of water quality updates and advisories issued by authorities like the PUB can provide valuable insights into the safety of tap water in your area.