Schools lead way in using water wisely

Pei Hwa Secondary students Idzhar Dandiar Bahtiar and Chee Kang Jie, both 15, testing a water sample from Punggol Reservoir for acidity and turbidity.
Pei Hwa Secondary students Idzhar Dandiar Bahtiar and Chee Kang Jie, both 15, testing a water sample from Punggol Reservoir for acidity and turbidity.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Two of them among the 3 winners of PUB's Watermark Award this year

His school has cut its water consumption by 40 per cent since 2012 by regulating the water flow in taps and toilet flushes. At home, he has convinced his family to save water by washing dishes in a basin instead of under a running tap.

Tye Zheng Xuan may be only 12, but the Fernvale Primary School pupil is already putting to good use the tips he picked up from his school's water conservation programmes.

Fernvale's principal, Madam Balakrishna Vyjanthimala, whose school has a permanent Singapore Water Story exhibition in its foyer, said: "Saving water has become a strong part of our school culture today."

For its efforts, the school was one of three winners of national water agency PUB's Watermark Award this year.

Engineering consultancy firm CH2M Singapore and Pei Hwa Secondary School were the other two award winners singled out by PUB for their efforts yesterday.

PART OF SCHOOL CULTURE

Saving water has become a strong part of our school culture today.

FERNVALE PRIMARY PRINCIPAL BALAKRISHNA VYJANTHIMALA, whose school has a permanent Singapore Water Story exhibition in the foyer.

PUB chief executive Ng Joo Hee said that achieving water sustainability requires not only a diversified water supply but also commitment from the community in using water wisely.

"We are heartened to see that our winners this year are leading the way in this area of water stewardship," he added.

The annual Watermark Award was introduced in 2007 to recognise individuals and organisations for their contributions to the conservation of Singapore's water resources, said PUB. A total of 21 nominations were received this year.

The awards will be presented on Thursday at MacRitchie Reservoir Park by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.

CH2M Singapore has been organising water conservation initiatives for several years, including some targeted at the younger generation.

For example, it organised an excursion to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in 2011 to teach pre-school children about saving water, and provided pro-bono consultancy for the building of two rain gardens at Woodgrove Secondary School in 2013 to make rainwater cleaner.

CH2M Water Business Group managing director Tan Ngo Chiaw said a company's growth depends on the sustainability of the communities in which it does business.

"How we make those profits is more important than how much we make," he added.

At Pei Hwa Secondary School, student leaders conduct learning sessions for about 300 students a year at the nearby Sengkang Floating Wetland to showcase the role of natural vegetation in keeping water clean and demonstrate how water samples are measured for characteristics such as acidity and dissolved oxygen.

On the need to get students to conserve water, Pei Hwa's principal, Mrs Belinda Chan, said: "The young may be apathetic about water issues as they have never experienced a lack of water supply."

Secondary 3 Pei Hwa student Chee Kang Jie, 15, who volunteered as a student leader, said: "Before I learnt all of this, I thought that saving water is just turning off the tap when necessary, but there's so much more to water conservation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'Schools lead way in using water wisely'. Print Edition | Subscribe