From The Straits Times Archives: A look at the dry weather in recent months

The Eco Lake at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 17 February 2015. Dry weather is causing the grass to turn brown and water level to recede. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
The Eco Lake at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 17 February 2015. Dry weather is causing the grass to turn brown and water level to recede. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

Singapore's water agency PUB has urged Singaporeans to conserve water amid the ongoing dry weather. 

The PUB told The Straits Times on Monday that it had sent out circulars to 27,000 non-domestic water users – including town councils and schools – last month to encourage them to save water. People are also advised to do their part with some measures suggested including taking one to two minutes less in the shower and running washing machines only on full load instead of half.  

All parts of Singapore had below average rainfall last month, ranging from 10mm to 150mm. The lowest recorded was 95 per cent below average. Rainfall over the next two weeks is also expected to be below average, although showers are expected on a few days.

It has also been injecting about 25 million to 30 million gallons of Newater per day into the reservoirs here for the past two weeks, so their water levels have remained healthy.

Here are some weather-related stories from The Straits Times archives.

Dry weather expected to last for at least 2 more weeks 

A black swan on the parched edge of the Eco Lake in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. All areas of Singapore experienced below-average rainfall last month, said the National Environment Agency, and the first half of this month is expected to have less rainfall than usual. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

This article was first published on March 2, 2015.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in its latest forecast that the first half of this month is expected to have less rainfall than usual. This follows significantly low levels of rain in the previous two months. 

The current dry weather, it said, is partly due to the early onset of the north-east monsoon's dry phase, which is characterised by drier weather and occasional wind.

While the dry phase typically starts in February, it began in mid-January this year, partly due to stronger winds in the region that caused the monsoon rain belt to shift away from Singapore. 

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Tips to reduce your water usage during the dry weather 

A girl plays with ducks in the Eco Pond in Botanic Gardens on 24 Feb 2015. The water level in the pond has fallen due to the recent dry weather. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

This article was first published on March 2, 2015. 

With the dry weather expected to continue, the PUB has offered some tips on how you can cut down on your weather usage. 

1. In your bathroom- Reduce shower time by one minute, and turn off the tap when soaping.- Use a tumbler when brushing your teeth.- For dual-flush flushing cisterns, use reduced flush for liquid waste.

2. In your kitchen- Wash dishes and vegetables in a basin, and not under a running tap.- Do not thaw food under running water. Let it defrost overnight in the fridge instead.

3. When doing your laundry- Run the washing machine only on a full load.- Collect the rinse water from the washer to flush the toilet or mop the floor.

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Expect haze this year - and earlier too: Experts

The haze blanketing the Singapore skyline at Marina Bay Sands Waterfront Promenade in October last year. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

This article was first published on on Jan 27, 2015. 

Along with the dry weather, Singaporeans have to watch out for the haze, too, which could come earlier this year. 

Haze in Singapore usually occurs from May to October, caused by winds bringing in smoke from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia. But experts told The Straits Times in January the haze could come early if dry weather in Malaysia triggers wildfires, with winds carrying the smoke over to the Republic.

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Dry spell ahead may see water rationing

The water level at Upper Peirce reservoir in January dropped due to a lack of rain and scorching heat. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

This article was first published on Jan 24, 2015. 

One way for Singapore to deal with the dry spell could be through water rationing. This was one of the suggestions that emerged from a discussion among government agencies, environmental groups and representatives from the water industry in January.  

The discussion was chaired by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan and examined how the nation can do more to conserve and appreciate the resource. 

To help tide the country over the upcoming dry phase, participants discussed ways to save water, including increased outreach and public education and more government incentives to help businesses adopt water-saving technology.

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Singapore to see more volatile weather 

Low water levels seen at MacRitchie Reservoir on 5 February 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

This article was first published on Jan 1, 2015.

Experts in January had already predicted that Singapore would be in for some volatile weather following an increase in erratic weather in recent years.  

The National Environment Agency said then that there was a 70 per cent chance of a weak El Nino, a weather phenomenon that sees the ocean dumping an enormous amount of heat into the atmosphere.  

It typically lasts about nine to 18 months and is linked to Singapore becoming drier and warmer than usual, especially between June and September, and possibly in October.

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