Features | Public Service

Ensuring Our
Nation’s Sustainability

The national water agency, PUB, and the National Environment Agency (NEA) are stalwarts of the sustainable development in Singapore. Both agencies spearhead initiatives to protect our environment for present and future generations.

Progress” is a word that Singapore is all too familiar with – we are always moving forward and working towards a better tomorrow. However, in our quest for advancement and development, our country becomes more and more resource-intensive. We start to feel the pinch on resources such as land and water, endangering our quality of life.

This is where the PUB and NEA come in. The two agencies are on the mission to ensure that Singaporeans have a sustainable water supply and a liveable environment. We talk to Mark Wong Wei Qiang and find out about how he contributes to this cause.

Why did you choose to apply for a scholarship with NEA/PUB?

Mark Wong Wei Qiang: I wanted a job that would have an impact on the lives of Singaporeans, and I felt the public service was the place to go for that. I was drawn to the idea of water simply because it would continue to be a vital resource for Singapore. After all, water is the source of life and it has been so from the beginning of time. If we look back in history, we see how settlements and empires were built around water. So I believed that by joining PUB, I would be able to make a difference to the community at large.

Mark Wong Wei Qiang
PUB Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
(now known as the National Environment and Water Overseas Undergraduate Scholar)

Designation: Senior Engineer, PUB

Studied: Master of Science (Electrical & Computer Engineering),
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US

Bachelor of Science (Electrical Engineering),
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US

"If you want to make a difference and do your part in the water and environment, the NEW scholarship could be for you."

Tell us more about your job. What are some of your roles and responsibilities?

Mark:Over the course of the six years I have worked under PUB, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of many of their operations.

I spent the first two years as an engineer at Changi Water Reclamation Plant (WRP), during which I had the chance to learn about the operations and maintenance of mega plants. In the two years after, I took on the role of a planner at Policy & Planning (PP) Department. I focused on the planning of used water infrastructure. My time there helped broaden my horizons, giving me a macro view of the issues cutting across the whole of PUB.

Now, I’m part of the core team of Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) Phase 2, something which I actually had a hand in pushing forth during my PP days.

My job is extremely satisfying. What I do on a daily basis is something that has purpose for all Singaporeans. As I mentioned, I’m working on DTSS Phase 2 now. The successful delivery of this project would ensure water sustainability for Singapore as well as safety in public health for many years to come.

Tell us more about the role of NEA/PUB in managing the future of Singapore’s environment and water resource. How do you hope to contribute?

Mark: We are looking at the long-term, planning beyond Singapore’s needs today. Singapore continues to grow and this has to be supported in an adequate and sustainable manner. We are conscious of the need to build ahead, but we are aware of the need to be cost effective as well.

This is where the DTSS project I’m involved with comes in. Beyond ensuring water sustainability, the DTSS also results in a more compact used water system once it’s completed – occupying only 50% of the existing infrastructure requirements. Existing conventional WRPs and intermediate pumping station would be progressively phased out and land will be freed up for alternative use.

What advice do you have for aspiring NEA/PUB Scholars?

Mark: Aspiring scholars should demonstrate their interest in making a difference. Choosing a scholarship is akin to selecting a career. Do not pursue a scholarship for the sake of doing it. If you want to make a difference and do your part in the water and environment, the NEW scholarship could be for you.