Tropical Singapore's water needs different from temperate Europe's

I was unimpressed by commentators' attempts to compare water consumption in Singapore with cities such as Copenhagen, Berlin and Zaragoza (How to use less water to have more? Look to Europe; Feb 23).

These cities all lie within the temperate climate zone where, broadly speaking, less water is expended for cooling, washing and the upkeep of plants and landscaping, or lost to evaporation, compared to the tropics.

They also have radically different urban infrastructure, being composed largely of older, low-rise buildings.

This imposes inherent limitations on plumbing, water-using appliances and water distribution networks, unlike Singapore's modern high-rises with swimming pools.

A fairer comparison would be Hong Kong, which has similar levels of urban development and population density, and a climate much closer to ours.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'Tropical Singapore's water needs different from temperate Europe's'. Print Edition | Subscribe