Saving water: Educate, rather than punish

I FULLY agree that we may have become complacent about our water usage over the years ("Water: Every precious drop must count"; Wednesday).

Nonetheless, it is disappointing that even in the present era, we think of using only "punishment" to solve our issues.

Raising water tariffs will no doubt bring more mindful usage of water. However, we should not forget that water is necessary for basic survival.

We use water for drinking, cleaning and washing, and also for sanitary purposes.

In raising tariffs, the worst hit are always the lower-income and middle, sandwiched classes, who are already dealing with the rising costs of living.

The 5 per cent increase in water consumption during the dry spell may be disregarded due to a simple explanation: In a dry and hot spell, we will drink more water, shower more frequently and clean our house more often, since less rain brings more dust. Plants need to be watered as well.

An increase of only 5 per cent, or around seven litres, may, instead, be proof of our conscious effort to save water.

I hope that as a society, we can opt for educational, rather than punitive, measures.

From a young age, I have used water with the belief that every drop counts, due to education on water conservation during my school days. This, to me, is a success of our water education policy. Let us focus our efforts on instilling in our young children and new citizens the value of water conservation, as they may not yet understand how precious water is in a small island like Singapore.

Lee Ju Guang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Saving water: Educate, rather than punish'. Print Edition | Subscribe