n. Exceptionally pure water recycled from waste water generated by showers, sinks, and toilets.
In an effort to reduce its dependence on Malaysia, which supplies Singapore with about half its water, the nation has found a new use for its waste water, as well as a new word to describe it. Starting in February, waste water from sinks, baths and toilets is going to be pumped into reservoirs for all to drink after "conventional" treatment at waterworks. As part of its campaign to win public acceptance, the government has begun calling the recycled waste "newater" and has handed out more than 650,000 bottles.
Newater is purer than tap water and surpasses drinking-water standards set by the World Health Organisation, Minister for Trade and Industry George Yeo said, yesterday.
Recycled waste water — known as gray water (1970) — is nothing new. As water becomes an ever more precious commodity, many jurisdictions are taking a second look at the old treat-it-and-dump-it model. New waste-water treatment plants are coming online all the time and are purifying water enough that it can be reused as part of manufacturing processes, crop irrigation, and the watering of public parks and gardens. What's new about newater are the extra purification steps that make the recycled water perfectly safe to drink. The term newater has so far been a strictly Singaporean phenomenon, but with many places looking to deliver recycled water as tap water within the next ten years or so, newater may one day become an accepted part of the linguistic water supply.