Water Stewardship

Water Management and Quality

Water remains a scarce resource in Singapore and is essential for supporting life. It is an important resource that we have to manage and it plays an important role in creating attractive, healthy, and efficient green spaces in which our customers would want to live and work. However, the use of water in our business activities may reduce the availability of freshwater. Moreover, some of our core business activities result in degradative water use, and pollution may occur if the discharge is not managed properly.

With climate change and a rapidly growing population, the demand for water is estimated to more than double by 2060. Singapore is likely to become one of the world’s most water stressed countries7 come 2040. To combat this, the national water agency, PUB, has built a robust and diversified water supply known as the ‘Four National Taps’ to ensure water security for the nation. However, water scarcity is still a serious issue, and in 2017 water prices will increase for the first time in 17 years, going up by 30% over two phases.

Taking a strategic approach towards effective water management systems to minimise consumption and manage water quality is a key priority. We recognise the importance of effectively managing water consumption and the quality of rainwater run-off leaving our project sites. We equally acknowledge the significant benefits that arise from a strategic approach to water management and quality, as they enhance the efficiency, resilience, desirability and long-term value of our assets and developments. Not only do they deliver significant benefits to the environment, but they also promote performance and cost efficiencies across our operations.

From the initial stages of design all the way through to construction and management, CDL’s developments are conceptualised with a strong focus on water sustainability. Such responsible water management practices allow us to deliver value to our customers through cost savings.

7 World Resource Institute’s Ranking of the World’s Most Water-stressed Countries in 2040


Stage in Project Lifecycle Water Management Focus Benefits
Use of water-efficient fittings and fixtures Reduce use of water
Use of recycled water and drought-resistant plants Reduce the use of potable water
Installation of self-closing taps Reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy
Collection of rainwater for washing vehicles
Installation of systems to allow water recycling for site cleaning
Installation of silty water treatment system Prevent silty water from being discharged into water systems
Operation of Assets
Comprehensive use of water-efficient fixtures and fittings Reduce use of water
Use of NEWater for operations that do not require potable water Reduce reliance on potable water


As part of the Environmental Management System objectives under ISO 14001, CDL tracks monthly water consumption against the respective targets for our key business processes.

Within our key business activities, water pollution is of most significance, compared to other types of pollution. CDL has implemented a variety of Silt and Earth Control Measures at all construction sites to ensure that Total Suspended Solids (TSS) readings of the discharged water do not exceed the legal limit of 50 mg/litre. Beyond this, we also set targets below the legal limit for our ongoing projects. For example, in one of our recently awarded projects, we set a target of less than 40 mg/litre on the TSS reading of the effluent, highlighting our commitment to preventing pollution.

In 2016, the highest TSS level discharged across all our 12 worksites was 21 mg/litre, well below the legal limit.

In recognition of our significant contribution towards Singapore’s water sustainability, CDL was one of the first recipients of the inaugural Watermark Award by PUB in 2007. Since the inception of PUB’s Active, Beautiful, and Clean Waters certification in 2010, CDL has also been a pioneer winner for a number of our developments. To date, 14 of our buildings have been certified as “Water Efficient Buildings” by PUB for outstanding efforts in water conservation.

Due to the higher water usage for development projects nearing completion in 2016, our water usage in construction sites increased by about 24% compared to 2015.

To manage our water usage, CDL has since 2015 established targets to reduce water use intensity by 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2030 against 2007 levels. We have so far achieved a 15% reduction in 2016, with more initiatives to be put in place to achieve our target by 2020.

Key Water Initiatives in 2016

Water Initiatives Business Unit Savings
Use of recycled water for construction site activities Projects Development 167,982 m3, equivalent to almost $350,0008
Use of NEWater instead of potable water Property and Facilities Management Use of 133,140m3 of NEWater, savings of more than $40,0009 as compared to using potable water


8 Water tariff at $2.0817 per m3 before GST, inclusive of water tariff, water conservation tax and waterborne fee. Source: www.pub.gov.sg
9 NEWater tariff of $1.7807 per m3 before GST, inclusive of NEWater tariff and waterborne fee. Source: www.pub.gov.sg
10 Water used in Singapore, a highly water stressed country, is from the reservoir and considered as town water.
11 CDL Corporate Office’s water data is included in the data of commercial buildings.

Water Use in Key Subsidiaries

Similar in scope for GHG emissions and energy, we also report the water consumption data of our key subsidiaries.