Friday 24 July 2015

Frugal Friday #9 - NEWater Visitor Centre

It's been some busy days for me, but most glad to be back here on Frugal Friday! 

Since my childhood days, I've been widely educated that water is precious to its every drop. Each time, I spot the kids using water too liberally. I literally bleed. More can be done on water education.

It's not too strange, but we decided to visit the NEWater Visitor Centre. Before you get too excited and decide to navigate away, do note that any visit has to be pre-registered online. We did a walk in and got turned down on our first visit. The kind people there slotted us for a tour the very next day.  

Arrived! Then we realized we couldn't do walk in.

The Singapore Water Story has come a long way in terms of sustainability and research. Today, we have become the poster child for urban water efficiency and innovative water recycling technologies. Ensuring good water quality is always Singapore's top priority. Foreigners and tourists often raise their eyebrows when we tell them that water from our tap is extremely safe for consumption. I know it takes a huge leap of faith for them to even try.

I vividly remember when I had to do up an 'About Singapore' poster for our foreign friends at an International fair, in the states, I needed to share that water from our tap is safe for drinking. It was an applauding achievement, I felt.

Tap is now safe

As much as we fought for our water entitlement since the days of independence, we have always wanted to be self sustainable. The four national Taps that now provide water for all are:
  1. Water from local catchment
  2. Imported water
  3. Desalinated water
  4. NEWater
NEWater is nothing new to kids of our generation when it was first introduced in 2003. We had them most often seen at carnivals or events as a commonly sponsored drink. Think SG50 fun pack! When I first came across it many years ago, I've to admit it did take some loud thinking and courage to down the first sip. After all, we were talking about recycling used water. 

When our kids first had their experience with NEWater, my man did his 'educational' part of telling them, its 'poo' water! Gosh, please excuse that uncouth explanation. We definitely needed a better insight when talking to kids, and that explained our visit to the NEWater visitor centre.

On a serious note, I see pride in the development of NEWater. A major milestone, allowing us to reduce our dependence on weather for water. It's so true when we say everyone has a role and stake in water - a necessary resource, an economic asset and an environmental treasure.

The visitor centre had just undergone major renovation works and as of last week, major exhibits were not ready. Albeit a little disappointed, we want to be back for a more fruitful experience when the full scale exhibits are up. In addition, the tour we joined were more suited for older kids and grown ups. Though Js did not show signs of restlessness, Jare exited the tour, telling me that he didn't understand the message conveyed through the talks. Of course, there were also fun interactive moments during the tour.

Edutaining and entertaining

We were first welcome by a short video on the introduction and history of our water. After which, we migrated to another big spaced area for some hands on games and exhibits. We re-united as a group to know and hear more on the story of NEWater from our guide.

We walked through a mocked up DTSS (Deep Tunnel Sewerage System) tunnel. The concept of the DTSS is to use deep tunnel sewers to convey used water by gravity to centralise water reclamation plants (WRPs) located at the coastal areas. The used water is then treated and further purified into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water (NEWater), or discharged to the sea through the outfalls. As the word mentioned, it's deep. Deep down underground, ranging from 20m to 50m. Even deeper than the existing MRT tunnels. Pretty sure the Ninja turtles couldn't even get there. 

In the 'DTSS'

Last stop was the processes of further purifying the water to be safe for drinking. It's after this final stop that you will walk out with no more funny thoughts about NEWater. So then, help yourselves to the self-dispense NEWater sitting near the entrance.

Processes and a touch of the fibre membranes

Safe for drinking!

It was most glad to have stepped out of this place with a new perspective of NEWater. A truly rewarding tour which could be perfected when exhibits are up full scale. 

Information overloaded!

Preschoolers tour
The tour we did was more suited for older children. Having been told that they conduct preschool tours for schools on weekdays, I have liaised with the centre about opening a slot for a private group. They have kindly agreed a weekend slot for us, and yes, do email me if you're keen. If your kids have not been there with his or her preschool, it's a good opportunity for us, parents to join them on this fun and educational tour.

Date: 05 September 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 10am to 12pm 
Venue: 20 Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT station: Tanah Merah MRT (Exit A)
Bus services: 12, 24, 31 and 38
Age: 4 years old and above
Cost: FREE (Programme is supported by PUB)
Registration: Please email attending kids' names to: 

Tour details: 
Focuses on how everyone can conserve, value and enjoy water. Little visitors will learn about the 4 National Taps and that everyone plays a part in taking care of these water resources. Apart from the tour, there's also a rain garden workshop to teach participants more about filtration. In the rain garden workshop, little participants will learn how rain garden works and will build their own mini rain garden. Through this workshop that little participants will be making individually, they will learn more about filtration, through the different sized substrates. One of the processes in making NEWater.

To note:
  • This tour will only proceed if we have a minimum of 20 kids (Counting my both in too)! Registration will halt once we reach a maximum of 40 kids, base on first come first serve. 
  • And of course, if we have overwhelming response to form another group, I'll be more than glad to liaise a tour for another date. All for goodwill.  
  • Major exhibits are currently under renovation till end August. If renovation is not completed by its scheduled date, tour might be postponed. 
  • Good things are ought to be shared, there's no profit in grouping this tour. Mum's calling is not liable for any part of the tour.

Address: 20 Koh Sek Lim Road
Tel: 65467874
Opening hours: 9am to 5:30pm (Tuesdays to Sundays)
Pre-register tour here (No walk ins).

Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
For enquiries on NEWater Visitor Centre, please contact
Tel: 65467874
- See more at: tour for all.

This is part 9 of the Frugal Friday series:
Frugal Friday #1 - SAM
Frugal Friday #2 - SPM
Frugal Friday #3 - Reflections at Bukit Chandu  
Frugal Friday #4 - National Museum
Frugal Friday #5 - Paranakan Museum
Frugal Friday #6 - ACM
Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
Frugal Friday #7 - Army Museum
Frugal Friday #8 - Singapore Discovery Centre

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