Do away with auto-flush systems

In the interest of conserving water, it is surely time to consider a return to manually operated lavatory flush systems.

More than two decades ago, I recall sitting next to an expatriate water engineer at a dinner, who was in Singapore to advise some company on the installation of auto-flush systems.

He was cynical about maintenance - most organisations, he said, were incapable of the high degree of monitoring required to ensure correct calibration and that water waste was inevitable.

During a recent visit to a washroom in a mall, I received an unsolicited - and unwelcome - bidet treatment. As I was leaving, the auto-flush was activated twice - a total of three releases of water when one was sufficient.

The visiting engineer was emphatic that lack of confidence in one's population was the only logical reason for auto-flush installations. And at that stage in our history, we did indeed lack that confidence.

But much has changed since then and Singaporeans have advanced in many directions, including in having good civic sense. Surely we are civilised enough to return to a manual system. For those squeamish about touching the lever, a couple of slivers of toilet paper can protect them.

Ann Wee (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Do away with auto-flush systems'. Print Edition | Subscribe