|Straits Times Photo: Kevin Lim|
The truth of the Choa Chu Kang foam is not that far removed from the fiction. It would seem that 70 barrels of detergent-based concentrate were stored in a warehouse that caught fire. Three quarters of these barrels were damaged and when the fireman quenched the flames, and water from the hoses was added, instant foam was the result.
The soapy mix also contaminated a stretch of the nearby Pang Sua Canal from which water is taken for recycling and is treated for human consumption.
The event reminds me just how precious a commodity water is and how Singapore is a world leader in water conservation and recycling; NEWater being a case in point. The country has four operational NEWater factories, at Bedok, Kranji, Ulu Pandan and Changi producing potable water that is treated from sewage waste water and made fit to drink.
Singapore is now taking the eco-process one step further by having the water treatment plants powered by solar energy - a clever marriage of green technologies.
And if you ever doubted the importance of water and its conservation consider this article (and the infographic below) from FastCompany that highlights how important water security is to business.
"If there is one truly arresting sign that our relationship to water is about to shift in fundamental ways, it comes not from the world of science or climatology, not from United Nations officials or aid workers desperately trying to get water to people in developing countries. It comes from businesses like Michell Wool and other corporations with water-intensive businesses, such as Coca-Cola but also those whose water dependence is less obvious, like GE and IBM. They all have that same tickle of anxiety about water security. For business, water management is fast becoming a key strategic tool. Companies are starting to gather the kind of information that lets them measure not just their water use and their water costs but also their water efficiency, their water productivity, how much work they get from a gallon of water, how much revenue, how much profit."