Singapore-Delft Water Alliance

Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (SDWA) was a multi-national, interdisciplinary research Centre of Excellence for Water Knowledge involving PUB (Singapore), National University of Singapore and Deltares, established through an initiative of the National Research Foundation in Singapore.[1] SDWA was hosted by National University of Singapore and provided a research home to scientists and engineers from all partner organizations. SDWA ceased to exist on the 1st of April 2014 after it successfully met all its Key Performance Indicators. The collaboration between NUS and Deltares is continued through NUSDeltares.


As part of Singapore's push to be a Global Hydrohub, a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2006 [2] between NUS, PUB and Delft Hydraulics to create a center of excellence for water knowledge at NUS . This MoU resulted in the creation of SDWA which was officially launched in February 2007.[3]

Research Focus

SDWA's research focus was within the following six disciplines:


SDWA's research projects were interdisciplinary. The major ongoing research projects were:

  • MHBox: This project focused on understanding and developing a pre-operational forecasting system for residual currents and water levels.[4]
  • Peatland: Peatlands store a large fraction of the world's carbon resources. However the most rapid peatland degradation currently occurs in Southeast Asia. The aims of this project were to support large-scale implementation of mitigative water management and improved spatial planning of production and conservation areas in peatlands.
  • ASC Pandan: This project aimed to understand the fundamental processes and interactions in an urban water system to be able to develop adequate and cost-effective water improvement measures[5] through the creation of an Aquatic Science Center in Pandan Canal.[6][7]
  • Mangroves: This project looked in several aspects of mangroves, such as rates of sediment capture and erosion, and dispersion of seeds. The research is continued at the Mangrove Lab.[8]
  • Seagrass Project: This project aimed to improve understanding of the natural dynamics of seagrass ecosystems in tropical coastal waters in response to environmental variability in turbidity and sedimentation.
  • Sediment Project: The project 'Large Scale Sediment Transport and Turbidity in Singapore's Coastal Waters' aimed to determine the processes responsible for the increased turbidity by identification of a sediment budget of the Singapore coastal waters, including the main sources and sinks (and the changes thereof) and of the dominant sediment transport mechanisms.
  • Upper Peirce: The SDWA Upper Pierce research programme was focused on gaining better insights into the hydrological, hydrodynamic, chemical, biological and biochemical processes of tropical reservoirs through experimental work, modelling, and advanced and innovative monitoring.
  • Multi-Reservoir: The Multi-Objective Multiple-Reservoir Management project aimed at developing tools and methods for maximising catchment yield and satisfying pre-set water quality standards, while at the same time ensure flood protection for reservoir systems.

SDWA also carried out several large research projects for Singapore agencies such as the Public Utilities Board and National Environmental Agency.


SDWA considered that strong research capabilities and activities are essential to education and training. As such students and course participants were exposed to mature reflections on the results generated through the research projects in which SDWA members were involved, and also to results from research done elsewhere.

As part of this approach SDWA was spearheading a new double M.Sc. degree program in Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management in collaboration between the National University of Singapore and the Delft University of Technology. The programme is based on an institutionally innovative concept under which students spend one year of study in both Singapore and The Netherlands and receive separate M.Sc. degrees from both Universities.


  1. Tan. T. (2007, Feb. 17). Dutch Water Expertise for Singapore. The Straits Times, Science
  2. (2006, Jun. 27). MOU for water knowledge signed, The Business Times.
  3. Chow P.N.(2007, Feb. 8). Singapore as a hydrohub.
  4. Tan. T. (2007, Feb. 17). Systems to forecast tides and currents. The Straits Times, Science.
  5. (2007, Feb. 17). Taking water management strategies a step further. The Straits Times, Science.
  6. (2008, July 3). Aquatic Science Centre to open along Ulu Pandan Canal. The Straits Times, Home, p10.
  7. Aquatic Science Centre in Pandan
  8. Tan. T. (2007, Feb. 17). Harnessing plant power to absorb tidal waves. The Straits Times, Science.

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