Sale of zero-tick washing machines to cease from April 1

The least water-efficient washing machines on the market will be phased out from April 1. Only washers with one or more ticks - shorthand for how water-efficient they are - can be sold.

Meanwhile, customers are buying more of the most efficient machines. From October 2012 to September 2013, consumers here bought 79,309 three-tick washing machines, up from 55,174 the year before, and the market share of three-tick washing machines sold went from 37 to 54 per cent, said figures from national water agency PUB.

Laundry is the third most water-intensive activity in households here, soaking up 19 per cent of the average household's water use. Showers and washing in the kitchen sink make up 29 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

Household appliances have long carried water and energy efficiency labels to provide clear information for consumers, and minimum performance standards are being gradually tightened in both areas.

Since 2009, taps, mixers, some cisterns, and urinals have had to carry water efficiency labels, and washing machines have been required to do so since 2011, while air-conditioners and fridges have had energy efficiency labels since 2008.