Water rationing exercise kicks off in schools to cultivate awareness of conservation

ST VIDEO: LIN YANGCHEN

SINGAPORE - The first water-rationing exercise in the month-long Singapore World Water Day (SWWD) this year kicked off at Woodgrove Secondary School in Woodlands on Wednesday (March 1).

Water was shut off to most of the school's taps for four hours and students had to collect water in pails.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli attended the event, observing students filling pails from a tap at a water collection point and ladling water to students in the canteen for washing hands.

Mr Masagos said in a Facebook post on Wednesday: "It is important that we make water conservation our way of life... Such exercises are important especially so for the younger generation today who have never experienced water rationing."

The last time Singapore had water rationing was during the drought in 1964.

Forty five schools will take part in the exercise this year, compared to just five last year. For the first time, 34 preschools are taking part alongside primary and secondary schools and one junior college, involving more than 14,000 students.

At Woodgrove Secondary School, where students flushed toilets and washed their hands with water collected in pails on Wednesday, principal Chee Chit Yeng said although the exercise gave only a small taste of water rationing, he hoped it would remind students not to take the resource for granted.

Mr Ng Kuan Wei, general manager of participating preschool NurtureStars, said good habits start young and the school was organising a post-rationing activity in which pupils will work with their parents to design water-saving posters to show in school.

This year's Singapore World Water Day will be launched by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at Marina Barrage on Saturday (March 4).

The month-long line-up of events by more than 400 partner organisations include roadshows and door-to-door outreach by uniformed student groups, as well as save-water competitions and rewards for households that reduce their water bills.