Country Listing

Singapore Table of Contents


Public Utilities

The Public Utilities Board, established in May 1963, was responsible for providing the country's utility services. At the turn of a faucet, potable water was available throughout the country. All parts of the main island and several offshore islands were supplied with electricity. About one in three households used piped gas.

In its early years, Singapore depended on wells for its water supply. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, wells were inadequate to supply the needs of a booming seaport and the ships that called there, and a series of reservoir and waterworks projects were undertaken. By the late 1980s, the water supply system consisted of eighteen raw water reservoirs, twelve service reservoirs, eleven waterworks, and about 4,000 kilometers of pipeline. Although some water came from rainfall trapped in catchment basins, much of the country's supply was imported from Malaysia and piped into the reservoir system. Consequently, water was a precious resource, and domestic and commercial consumers were constantly advised to use it efficiently.

Electricity was made available to the public for the first time in 1906. It was purchased from Singapore Tramway Company and distributed to consumers in the main town areas. The demand escalated from 39,613 kilowatt-hours in 1906 to about 13,000 million kilowatt-hours in 1988. The first power station, commissioned in 1926, had a generating capacity of two megawatts. In 1988 electricity was generated at four power stations with a total installed generating capacity of 3,371 megawatts. From these stations, electricity was distributed to consumers through more than 4,900 substations and a network of more than 23,000 kilometers of main cables. To meet the increasing demand, a second stage was required for the Pulau Seraya Power Station, the first power station to be sited on an offshore island. Its Stage II, having a generating capacity of 750 megawatts, was scheduled to have its first 250-megawatt generating unit operational in early 1992 and to be completed in 1993. Because all fuel oil used for electricity generation had to be imported, energy conservation was encouraged.

The first gasworks started in Kallang in 1862 using coal as feedstock. In the late 1980s, gas was manufactured from naphtha, a pollution-free fuel, by six gas-making plants at the Kallang Gasworks. To meet the increasing demand, a S$4.3 million plant was scheduled for completion in 1989 to replace an older, smaller plant. Gas was piped to consumers through about 1,800 kilometers of gas main extending over major areas of Singapore. Of the total gas production in 1988 of 681 million units, about 46 percent of gas sales went for domestic and 54 percent for commercial consumption.

Data as of December 1989