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    Jul 01, 2014

    50 years on, the city will drink to this

    AS THE years pass, the demand for water in downtown Singapore could double.

    To make sure that it continues to get its fill of the precious liquid, a new water pipeline will be laid out. It will carry water from the Murnane Service Reservoir - located near the Bukit Timah Expressway and the Pan Island Expressway - all the way to Maxwell Road.

    That is a distance of 22km. About half of this pipeline will be laid under the southern half of the Rail Corridor.

    The pipeline is expected to meet the water needs in the current city area and future developments, including Marina South and East, as well as the Greater Southern Waterfront.

    Currently, water demand in the city area is about 30 million gallons per day, said national water agency PUB yesterday.

    This is expected to double to 60 million gallons per day by 2060, said George Madhavan, director of PUB's 3P Network.

    "Major water infrastructure takes a long time to plan and implement. That is why...we typically plan for 50, or even, sometimes, 100 years," he said.

    Construction work for the pipeline will be carried out from 2016 to 2019, and the stretch of the Rail Corridor south of Holland Road will be closed to the public temporarily from the first half of 2016.

    A segment of the corridor that runs from the Pan-Island Expressway to Holland Road will be kept accessible via a 2m-wide pathway.

    Pedestrian paths crossing the corridor will still be maintained or diverted temporarily, and the areas will be reopened progressively after the pipeline has been laid.

    PUB will employ pipe-jacking, an alternative method to avoid and preserve heritage structures such as the former Bukit Timah Railway Station and a steel truss bridge along Bukit Timah Road, added Mr Madhavan.

    From this month, PUB will carry out soil investigation works, and environment-impact and detailed engineering studies before the works begin.

    "We will work with various community members, such as residents of nearby premises, rail-corridor users and interest groups at different stages of the project... to ensure that this project... will minimise any inconvenience to the community," said PUB chief executive Chew Men Leong.

    The project is expected to cost about $300 million, depending on the tender results.

    "This pipeline will help us secure water supply to the city and Marina area for the next 50 years or so," said Mr Madhavan.

    In a post uploaded onto Facebook yesterday, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan wrote: "My initial concern was whether this pipe would disrupt the rail corridor. I agreed to this plan because it not only enhances water resilience, but it is also one way of guaranteeing uninterrupted public access along this corridor for hopefully a century and beyond."

    The minister walked along a section of the Rail Corridor on Saturday with members of the Nature Society and Rail Corridor Partnership.