SINGAPORE - Water levels in the Linggiu Reservoir in Johor - which can supply up to 60 per cent of Singapore's water needs - are now at about 42 per cent.
This is just above the historical low of 41 per cent in late 2015. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli revealed this on Tuesday (March 22) morning at Elias Park Primary School, where a water rationing exercise was being conducted to mark World Water Day.
Dry weather has been causing a steady depletion of water in Linggiu Reservoir since the prolonged dry spell experienced by Singapore and the region in early 2014.
Water levels never recovered from the dry spell and in August 2015, they dropped to 54 per cent. It later dipped to a low of 43 per cent in November 2015.
The north-east monsoon season in December had raised water levels to almost 50 per cent in early January, but they have dipped again since then to the current 42 per cent.
Singapore can draw up to 250 million gallons a day (mgd) from the river, but there have been four disruptions this year. National water agency PUB has been pumping an average of 16 mgd of Newater a day for the month of March to the reservoirs here to meet the nation's water needs.
However, there is no need yet for island-wide water rationing to be conducted, Mr Masagos said.
"Some of you might be wondering why we are having this exercise, and when was the last time a water rationing exercise was held in Singapore," Mr Masagos told students at an assembly.
"The last time we experienced nationwide water rationing was back in 1964. Although there is no need for active rationing today, it is still important to remind everybody the importance of water."
The voluntary water rationing exercise conducted by Elias Park Primary School was held for 1.5 hours from 10am to 11.30am, to teach students the value of water.
During that time, the 1,100 students of the school were having their recess breaks. Principal Cassie Fan said students tend to use the most water during this period.
All the taps in the school were turned off for the 1.5 hours and students had to scoop water from pails to wash their hands before and after their meals, and to flush the toilets, for instance.
Elias Park Primary School was one of five schools to mark World Water Day with such an exercise. Two schools, Peirce Secondary School and Bukit View Secondary School, did so in early March. The others, including Bendeemer Primary School and Woodgrove Primary School, did so on Tuesday.
From about 7pm on Tuesday evening, buildings in the Marina Bay area, including the Singapore Sports Hub and the Singapore Flyer, will turn blue to commemorate World Water Day.