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Water Project of the Year

For the water project, commissioned during 2019, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint. See the full shortlist showreel here.

Choa Chu Kang Waterworks upgrade, Singapore

What is it?

A mass-scale ceramic membrane upgrade to Singapore’s largest water treatment plant. Half of the plant’s 362,000 m3/d treatment capacity, which was originally using sand filtration installed in 1981, was upgraded to ceramic ultrafiltration (UF) technology, followed by ozone-biological activated carbon (BAC) filtration process.

Who is involved?

Jacobs designed the new facility and supervised construction, testing and commissioning. The design features PWNT’s CeraMac MF solution using ceramic membranes from Metawater. Ozonation components were provided by Mitsubishi and BAC media from Calgon. Construction was led by local contractors including UGL, and a joint-venture between Chye Joo Construction and Sanli M&E Engineering.

What makes it special?

Choa Chu Kang Waterworks is now the largest ceramic membrane drinking water facility in the world, marking a new level of success for the technology. The cutting-edge material deployed increases the membranes’ lifespan to an unrivalled 20 years, making it a superlative economical solution based on the kind of life-cycle cost analysis that is increasingly driving utilities’ balance sheets.

The adoption of ceramic membranes allowed the design to include continuous, in-line pre-ozonation which cleans the membrane surface as it filters the water.


This, in turn, increases the membranes’ recovery rate to over 99% and reduces OPEX by saving on disinfectant downstream.

The ozone-BAC process following membrane filtration improves the plant’s robustness in the face of changing raw water quality. As climate change increases the frequency of algal blooms in Singapore’s reservoirs, this enhanced treatment process is crucial to the island-nation’s supply resilience at a time when its water resources are coming under increasing strain.


Putatan 2 Drinking Water Plant, Philippines

What is it?

A new 150,000m3/d water treatment plant serving Metro Manila. It was built next to the Putatan 1 plant, commissioned in 2011, to serve an additional million people in concessionaire Maynilad’s service area.

Who is involved?

Contractor Acciona Agua designed the plant and oversaw project implementation in partnership with Filipino engineers JEC and Frey Fil. Arup acted as project manager on the client’s side.

What makes it special?

In a year when the Filipino capital faced major water shortages and consistently low levels in the Angat dam which provides most of the city’s water, the opening of the Putatan 2 plant saved the day by allowing west zone concessionaire Maynilad to improve the resilience of its supply, a crucial move for the concessionaire at a time when private water has come under fire in the country. The plant’s intake draws from a different freshwater source, Laguna Lake, vastly increasing the security of the city’s water resources.

Putatan 2 deploys world-class membrane technology on a simply unprecedented scale in the Philippines.


Following DAF and BAF pre-treatment, the water goes through ultrafiltration followed by reverse osmosis, before a final chlorination step.

Laguna Lake’s waters are considered to be among the world’s most challenging to treat due to a high concentration of algae and suspended solids. Putatan 2’s state of the art technology is helping Manila breaking through to this previously-untappable resource with complete ease.