Source A:"Singapore has began adding recycled sewage water to its reservoirs in a step aimed at pulling itself of dependence on Malaysia. By 2011, about 2.5% of all tap water would include NEWater....

Source A:
"Singapore has began adding recycled sewage water to its reservoirs in a step aimed at pulling itself of dependence on Malaysia. By 2011, about 2.5% of all tap water would include NEWater. Recognizing that Singapore has limited natural resources, we are taking measures to ensure that the future generations of Singaporeans will never be short of drinking water. By 2061, Singapore could be totally self-sufficient in water. We can be totally self-sufficient, if there is no new water agreement with Malaysia."--- From an adapted interview of Mr Goh Chok Tong.

(a) What does the source tell you about the water issue?

Asked on by caijiawen

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This source tells us two main things about the water issue.  One of these is a fact having to do with physical facts about the natural world (how much water there is).  The other is a fact about the human world and the forces (nationalism, in particular) that tend to drive human beings.

The first thing that this source tells us is that water, at least in some parts of the world like Singapore, is in short supply.  The source shows us that Singapore is willing to use recycled sewage water in its regular water supply.  To many people, this would be rather disgusting, even though they should know intellectually that the water is now pure.  If the government of Singapore is willing to go to such lengths, there must be a serious shortage of water.

The second thing that this source tells us is that water can be seen as a matter of national security.  States feel that they will be vulnerable and weak if they rely on other states for their water supplies.  This tells us something about nationalism and about international relations.  It tells us that people are nationalistic enough that they want to be self-sufficient rather than relying on other countries.  It also tells us that governments fear that other governments will be willing to use water as a weapon.

Thus, this source tells us something about the amount of water in the world and the way that human beings perceive the importance of that water for their countries.

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caijiawen's profile pic

caijiawen | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

"water is the main issue under negotiation, but the issue goes far beyond water. The issue is interdependence. Can and should Singapore and Malaysia each be sufficient unto themselves? They can if they want to but they should not. Singapore and Malaysia are already linked through trade, tourism and a host of other ties at the personal and governmental levels. These ties should be built in a mature manner and with eyes to the future rather than to the past. The fact that Malaysia has not called it quits should tell Singapore that it still believes in trying for a deal. It will want to continue to supply water to Singapore and similarly for Singapore, it will try for a deal even though NEWater has reduced the necessity. As it believes that interdependence is good for the bilateral relationship." 

- What does the source means?

- Does it prove that Singapore and Malaysia were successful in water talks?

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