Annex A - Group Research Proposal


Research Topic (Global Challenge): Water quality in the 21st Century (Singapore)

Chosen Area of Focus: The positive and negative effects of the existing solutions on how to  prevent the contaminated water in our society and how we may further improve it. 

Group Members’ Names:
a) Johanna Lim Ziyun (3)
b) Kok Li Ying (4)
c) Chong Yong Liang (10)
d) Ng Wei Jie (24)

1. Statement of problem (framing our research topic):
Our statement of problem is to investigate on contaminated water in mainly the Singapore. This is so as the existing solutions that govern them are not enough. Disturbances to the hydrologic cycle have led to an increase in the number of prolonged droughts around the world, thus, the lack of water. 

Water pollution is the most critical environmental problem presently. Thus, we have to do something in order to prevent people using the water will not fall sick. If not, it will be too late as many people will continuously fall sick and have to be sent to the hospital for treatment.

Whereas for Singapore, we have many other alternatives to get water. Examples would be Water Catchment. Half of Singapore is covered by rainwater collection network. This consist of an integrated system of reservoirs and an extensive drainage system to channel storm water into reservoirs. An example is the Marina basin that has been converted into a freshwater reservoir to supply 10 percent of Singapore’s water. NEWater has also been uprising, as well as importing water from Malaysia. These may be good solutions but it is just temporary. 

Although most people may not know, hidden in the water are full of germs and harmful bacteria that make you fall sick. Thus, this has to be investigated and solved so that it is safe for everyone to drink, and everyone can lead their life normally. We need to research on this topic as we want to make the world a better place, so that everyone will be able to obtain clean, abundant water!

  1. Research Objectives
Our research objectives are as follow: 
  1. We hope to raise awareness to the society on this situation so that they will know the importance of it. 
  2. We want to help the less fortunate (those who are involved in this crisis) and improve their lifestyles. 
  3. Since water is abundant in most of our lives, we need to make full use of it. People in the world do not have that much water anymore and we need to try our best to gain it back for them. 
  4. We want to stop water shortages from happening in our day and age. People would then be able to have proper sanitation and will not lack of drinking water. 
  5. To stop contaminated water from being drunk and being spread. (due to oil spills from ships etc)
  6. To refine and reinvent new stable solutions to ease the current problem as the existing solutions are only temporary and may break down anytime. 
  7. Allow the society to stop wasting water so that the shortages of water can be eased. 
  8. Stop the pollution of water and that the water can be used for other uses, such as agriculture and globalisation. 
3. Literature Review (Brief summary of at least 3 sources that you have consulted with reference to your research topic)

Author: PUB
Published in: Singapore
Date of publication: 3 September 2010
What is the literature all about: 
It is about how the water in Singapore is treated. (via desalination etc)

How can its accuracy be ascertained: 
It is not very accurate as the blog was last updated a year ago certain information might be outdated, thus it cannot be ascertained very well.

What makes the literature believable? 
As PUB is one of Singapore's main water distributors, it should be more reliable than others.

What were the limitations of the study?
They only talk about how their water is treated ,and subtopics, so other information cannot be found

What do other sources say?
The sources also say that the same thing.

Is there any evidence of bias in the article?
No, I do not think so.

Is there missing information?
It did not state how much water is collected and where it was from.

How was the information/data collected?
They only needed to state their experiment procedure.

Literature Review (consolidation of all information)
Most of Singapore's water comes from NEWater but PUB still checks it chemically and bacterially and further add chemicals to purify it.

Authority, Validity & Accuracy
Author: Kathy Chu 
Published in: USA TODAY
Date of publication: 3/3/2011 3:08:08 PM 
What is the literature all about: 
It is about Singapore promoting a solution to the water scarcity that vexes countries worldwide: recycling toilet water to drink.  This water flows through sewer pipes to a treatment plant, where solids and certain bacteria are removed before it's discharged into the ocean or further treated so it meets or exceeds federal drinking standards.
To make the water potable, Singapore and Orange County use several steps. First, during a process called micro-filtration, the water passes through a membrane with tiny holes — hundreds of times smaller than a human hair — that trap bacteria. It then undergoes a reverse-osmosis process in which it's pushed through a second, semi-permeable membrane that blocks salt, viruses and pharmaceuticals. Finally, the water is zapped with high-intensity ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to kill any trace organics.

How can its accuracy be ascertained: 
This accuracy can be ascertained as this was published on USA TODAY which is America’s main paper, standardised by all the cities. Thus, if it is published on a political platform, it is correct. Other than that, it is also publicised on the Singapore’s official water website, PUB, confirming the claims of USA TODAY. 

What makes the literature believable? 
The literature is believable as Singapore has invented something called NEWater which is purifying recycled toilet water into clean purified water made for drinking. The article on USA TODAY was from 2011 but you may be asking, what if it is not up to date? Have no fear, as the PUB site has updated the information about NEWater on 27 December 2013. It is believable as it is true that Singapore has faced water shortages, thus, resorting to importing water from Malaysia but Singapore also wants to be independent and thus, have invented NEWater. 

What were the limitations of the study?
The limitations of the study would be the fact that there was not many disadvantages for NEWater. Everything has its pros and cons so for this one, it should have it, instead of just having its advantages. The limitations were that they have built this, collecting the reservoir water and purifying it only in ONE place so the side effects may not have taken effect on the users yet. 

What do other sources say?
They say the same thing, that Singapore is using NEWater as a source of water. 

Is there any evidence of bias in the article?
There is a little evidence of bias in the article as they keep on saying the advantages of NEWater and are hiding the disadvantages. 

Is there missing information?
Yes, the disadvantages in NEWater. 

How was the information/data collected?
It was collected through going to NEWater and going through the lab tests etc. 

Literature Review (consolidation of all information)
We need to ensure that the countries will have abundant and clean water. The most important basis of testing and ensuring the water not being contaminated would be with the use of the WHO Guidelines of Drinking Water Quality (Fawell & Nieuwenhuijsen, 2003).
A main concern would be the microbial growth of E. coli in the tap water. Pathogen E. coli is best known for its ability to cause intestinal diseases. Pathogenic strands of E. coli in drinking water are the most common organisms that cause highly credible gastroenteritis (Hellard et al, 2001). Organic matter in water act as a source for microbial growth, and so when water is used for public supply, disinfectants such as chlorine, hypochlorite and ozone are used to kill micro-organisms and break down organic matter (Miettinen et al, 1996).
However, a number of chemical contaminants have been identified in drinking water such as arsenic, disinfection by-products, fluoride, lead, pesticides and radon, which would lead to several associated health risks (Calderon, 2000). Hence, there has been growing interest in adverse health effects of water contaminated with inorganic metal contaminants, namely arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury and selenium. Research has also shown that in the case of waterborne arsenic, there is a consistent but small body of epidemiologic evidence of an association with one or more types of cancer (Cantor, 1997).

Authority, Validity & Accuracy
Author of the article: Wikipedia (Unknown)
Where it is published in: Wikipedia
When was it published: Unknown

Where I found the article: Wikipedia

What is the literature all about: 
It's about how water is supplied to Singaporeans and how we sanitise the water.

How can its accuracy be ascertained: 
It's quite clear and concise, but it cannot be trusted to the fullest as people can come and edit it everyday at anytime.

What makes the literature believable: 
It's has sources that it takes information from, listed at the bottom of the wikipedia page.

What were the limitations of the study: 
The limitations of the study would be the fact that there was not many disadvantages for NEWater, so we can't find a way to improve NEWater.

What do other sources say: 
Other sources state that NEWater is Singapore's main supply of water that it can reproduce ourself.

Is there any evidence of bias in the article:
No, there is no obvious bias found in the page.

Is there other missing information:

How was the information or data collected:
From people in Singapore contributing to the page.

Literature Review (consolidation of all the information collected): 
Singapore imported water from Malaya to sustain the city's growing population. Singapore decided to negotiate for longer extensions of its water agreement further, but failed.
In order for Singapore to reduce its dependence on water imported from Malaysia, freshwater reservoirs and seawater desalination have been introduced.

4. Proposed Hypotheses
Our proposed hypotheses is that, “If the people were to try our methods in further easing the quality of water, their lives would be better as they will be able to conduct globalisation and would have water for them to drink so that their health will not deteriorate.”

5. Research Plan (Describe how you intend to design your research i.e. who/what you are going to research on, how many respondents, your study area/location etc)

Equipment needed:
-Nitrate and ammonia nitrate sensors 
-Measuring beaker (2 or more)
-Soil test kits (to see whether the soil is fit for agriculture etc)

Nitrogen cycle (nitrate):

  1. Once we find out what is causing the entire problem, we will conduct surveys and interviews and distribute it to the crowd so that we might know what their opinions on the water quality may be.
  2. We are going to research on the water facilities in Singapore such as NEWater, water catchment, desalination and our international agreements with Malaysia and other countries.
  3. Our research will be more inclined towards Singapore (regarding the water quality of it)
  4. We will go to NEWater and some of the reservoirs (like Macritchie) and test out the quality of water there. 
  5. The target audience we are looking at are adults, ranging from 28 years to 50 years. The size of it will be about 50 people.
  6. We will then tabulate the data using a pie chart/bar graph to see how much nitrate and ammonium nitrate there is in the reservoirs versus the purified water. 
  7. We will find ways and means to improve on NEWater and the other alternatives for water. (by looking at their disadvantages and reducing the risks that it may have) Examples of risks may include the contraction of diseases etc. 


6. Methodology (Describe what methods you are using to collect data, where and how the data can be collected and analysed)

1. Surveys 

-It will be given out to 30 Singaporean adults so that they might show their views towards the water quality in Singapore and the faults they might find in them. 

-The data can be collected and analysed easily as we will research on the shortages and contaminated water in Singapore and we will be able to see whether their answers are reliable or not. 

-We can also seek help from a lab engineer as he has adequate knowledge on what is going on in the world and will be able to help us analyse. 

2. Interviews

-We will conduct the interviews or calls with another 10 Singaporeans on what they think their quality of water in their country is like. 

-We will get their honest opinions and they will take it more seriously and we will get reliable answers. Thus, it will aid us in the investigation.

3. Collection of water (Singapore)

-We plan to go to the various reservoirs in Singapore (Macritchie, Bedok etc) to collect the water. 

-The water will then be placed in a beaker, we will take about 50ml of it. 

-The nitrate and ammonia nitrate sensors will then be calibrated and the dataloggers will show how much nitrate or ammonia nitrate the water actually contains! 

-We will then be able to know the contents in the water and will be able to devise a solution that will help reduce the amounts in it 

7. Research Schedule

W4 Research Plan and Literature Review Done 
W5 Draft of oral interview and surveys
W6 Multi-media presentation (to raise awareness to others on this problem)
W7 Giving out of surveys and conducting of interviews. 
W8 Conducting interviews on the phone or meet-ups
W9 Tabulating the results (in pie charts/bar graphs) and getting ready to compare it with previous years’ results. 
W10 Researching the advantages and disadvantages of the existing solutions and finding ways to improve it/stabilise it. 

W1 Forming up the solutions/recommendations/steps we can do in order to overcome this 21st Century problem. 
W2 Conclude what we have learnt 

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