Water Conservation: Tips and Ideas

Few days ago, I watched the TV Commercial by PUB, the National Water Agency in Singapore. In the commercial video, a little boy narrated his grandfather, Ah Gong's experience when Singapore experienced drought and it hadn't rained for days. According to the little boy, life for his Ah Gong was tough back then when they lacked water. In the later part of the commercial video, it was shown that even these days where water is readily available, Ah Gong still makes it a point to inculcate water-saving habits and mindsets in his family. 

I think what really touched me was that the video was narrated in a little child's voice – by reiterating what his Ah Gong told him, he remembers and he learns. I think learning how to save water and such great habits should be inculcated at a young age. Also, I then went on to google about the drought that happened back in 1869 as well as 1963, and I realised how lucky I am to be born in the 1990s where we now have our own sources of water.

I will share more on water conservation in Singapore, as well as some of the ideas (and my funny personal experiences) on how you can play a part to save water.

You can also
 click on the image below to watch the TV Commercial:

"Ah Gong Says..." PUB Water Conservation TVC 2015

"Ah Gong Says..." PUB Water Conservation TVC 2015

History of Water Conservation in Singapore

View from Marina Barrage, Singapore

View from Marina Barrage, Singapore

As you know, Singapore used to get its water supply from Malaysia way back in the 1960s, but substantial efforts have been put in to enable self-sufficiency. As of year 2015, we have our own sustainable water supply from four sources of water supply (also known as the four national taps) mainly: local catchment water, imported water, NEWater and desalinated water. 

However, even though we have an adequate supply of water, it is important to also manage the demand well. Therefore, extensive efforts have been put into implementing a water conservation programme and plan to encourage saving of water. It's great to see that the water consumption rate has dropped from 163 litres per day in 2003, to a current rate of 150.04 litres a day. Of course, PUB aims to continue lowering the rate to 147 litres and 140 litres by year 2020 and 2030 respectively.

Introduction of Water Wally

Water Wally Mascot Print at Marina Barrage, Singapore

Water Wally Mascot Print at Marina Barrage, Singapore

Water Wally, the official PUB Mascot was introduced in 2005 and has been a prominent icon when it comes to water conservation. Having frequent appearances in the local shopping malls or even on merchandises such as notebooks, posters or calendars, Water Wally plays an important role as it helps to publicise and promote water conservation and messages.

The mascot is also targeted at children and other than appearing on television as an animated series, "The Adventures of Water Wally", the mascot often appears for talks in libraries or schools. With its adorable and prominent look, it's hard to mistake this drop of water for anything else other than PUB!

View from Marina Barrage (NEWater area)

View from Marina Barrage (NEWater area)

I can't stress the importance of conserving water because even though we may have four sources widely available now, I find that more often than not – we tend to take our water supply for granted. I have, over the years, gained some knowledge about water conservation that from my personal experience (some funny ones even!) and therefore I'm here to share some tips on how you can conserve water at home! 

Tips to Conserve Water at Home

Tip 1: Take shorter showers!
Yes, yes, I definitely enjoy taking a nice, looonngg bath at home especially if I've had a long day or the weather is hot and humid. But did you know? Showers take up about 29% of a family's monthly water consumption. Shorter showers = less water wasted!

When I was young, I used to take hour long baths just to play with water and bubbles (shhh), but as I grew older I stopped so as to conserve water! Also, you now know that those hour long showers you take contributes significantly to your water bill... Try taking shorter showers and you'll see how much water (and money) you can actually save!

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Tip 2: Turn off the tap when soaping
You might think few seconds of soaping while leaving the tap on may be convenient since you don't have to get soap all over the tap when turning it on/off, but according to google results, an average shower uses about 50 litres of water. That's about enough water to fill up 33 of 1.5 litre bottles! For that few seconds, who knows, you might actually save up to 5 times of those 1.5 litre bottles filled with water.

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Tip 3: Always use a cup when brushing teeth
Confession: I don't know how to 'scoop' water using my hands from the tap to my mouth whenever I brush my teeth. So since young, I've always used a cup to contain the water needed for rinsing. Well, it's not a bad thing after all!

As mentioned, leaving the tap to run wastes A LOT of water, and on top of that, it's so much more convenient to use a cup to store rather than to scoop or force your head towards the tap... So why not?

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Tip 4: Always opt for reduced or short flush for toilets
So glad that the toilet at my house has this dual-flush function! Google results showed that each standard flush uses up to 5 litres of water. If each day you go to the toilet thrice, that's 15 litres of water gone just like that! Therefore, you should always opt for a reduced or short flush, or better still: use the rinse water from your washing machine to flush the toilet!

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Tip 5: Reduce water level for laundry in your washing machine
I'm extremely embarrassed about this one incident that I might never forget. Before my family got this new washing machine where you can pick the water level (left side of the picture above), my old washing machine used the same amount of water for every wash. Thus, my mum tries to ensure the load is full before running the washing machine. 

One bored afternoon alone at home, I realised how dirty my stuffed bunny was and decided to let it take a bath. Not knowing how the washing machine works, I just threw my bunny in and ran the washing machine... Imagine the amount of water used for just ONE stuffed bunny! Anyway, I forgot about my bunny until my mum came home in the evening and opened the washing machine to see this bunny inside. Needless to say, I got a scolding and guess what, my bunny still looked dirty.

Anyway, I digressed. My point is, the washing machine is SO big and bulky, you can imagine how much water is used every wash. If your washing machine doesn't have any 'select water level' function, it's best to run it on full load to save water! Yes, let your mum know this now. 
 

Tip 6: Stop pouring away the water you don't need
Because you might find a better use for it, so think before you pour it away! Always think of ways to reuse and recycle water, and here are some:

  • Water from washing machine = flush the toilet or wash the toilet floor
  • Water from washing your rice grains = water the plants
  • Collect rain water = water the plants

To find out more tips on how you can save water, you may head down to the water conservation mobile showroom whereby Water Wally will also be there to meet his fans! I think this makes for a good family outing to learn about water conservation and have fun at the same time. Spot the showroom and Water Wally at the following dates and locations:

  • 22nd March 2015 (Sunday) – Century Square
  • 24th March 2015 (Tuesday) – Cathay Cineleisure
  • 25th March 2015 (Wednesday) – Cathay Cineleisure
  • 26th March 2015 (Thursday) – Cathay Cineleisure


Lastly, I hope this entry teaches us that water is a given by nature, but to enjoy clean and safe-for-consumption tap water in Singapore is a blessing. Therefore, we should learn to appreciate the water we have and also adopt good water saving habits to protect this precious resource.

You can also click on the button below to visit the official PUB website for more information on water conservation!