Title| Water Circularity Assessment and Policy Implications for Singapore

Speaker| Mohit Arora, Postdoc Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


With significant efforts made to consider water reuse in cities including Singapore, a robust and replicable framework is needed to quantify the degree of urban water circularity and its impacts from a systems perspective. A quantitative urban water circularity framework can benchmark the progress and compare the impacts of water circularity policies across cities. In that pursuit, we bring together concepts of resource circularity and material flow analysis (MFA) to develop a demand- and discharge-driven water circularity assessment framework for cities. The framework integrates anthropogenic water flow data based on the water demand in an urban system and treated wastewater discharge for primary water demand substitution. Leveraging the water mass balance, we apply the framework in evaluating the state of water circularity in Singapore from 2015 to 2019. Overall, water circularity has been steadily increasing, with 24.9% of total water demand fulfilled by secondary flows in 2019, potentially reaching 39.6% at maximum water recycling capacity. Finally, we discuss the wider implications of water circularity assessments for energy, the environment, and urban water infrastructure and policy. Overall, this study provides a quantitative tool to assess the scale of water circularity within engineered urban water infrastructure and its application to develop macro-level water systems planning and policy insights.


Mohit works as a Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Research Associate at the Imperial College London. He received his PhD from Singapore University of Technology and Design and worked at the United Nations to push circular economy in Southeast Asia. His research focuses on circular economy assessment, material efficiency interventions and net zero emission strategies for cities and industries. He has a keen interest in sustainability research and policy interventions targeted to improve living standards in the developing world.

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2021 June & July Wednesday Seminar Series on Sustainability and Circular Economy

A Better World by Design is our motto in Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) that is reflected in our teaching and research. A Better World in the 21st century must include sustainable development and human activities. Sustainability is a complex system-level challenge that requires innovation and collaborations at all fronts. In this online seminar series, speakers from SUTD and international institutions will share recent progresses on sustainability research topics, with a focus on achieving a circular economy. Topics range from the role of design in achieving a circular economy, circularity in manufacturing, our built environment, life cycle analyses and urban metabolism.