Water conservation efforts may affect plumbing

The editorial on June 24 ("Water: Every precious drop must count") suggested that our city-state can and needs to improve its water consumption per capita from the current 150 litres to 140 litres by 2030, which is still on the high side compared with some other developed cities.

Climate change, prolonged drought and population growth are all compelling reasons for encouraging the public and industries to reduce the use of water.

Yet, no risk assessments to determine whether such actions would cause serious problems to the plumbing drainage line have been conducted by the industry.

Already, some problems have been reported around the world, and experts have expressed some concerns that this "dry drain phenomenon" might impact the plumbing system, with adverse health risks.


We have not experienced them yet; perhaps it is only a matter of time.

The push by politicians and legislators to embrace efficient conservation of water is universal.

Unfortunately, little in the way of advice on the plumbing system has been offered by or requested from this industry.

Globally, plumbing systems do not attract much interest or attention until something goes wrong.

With the emphasis now on saving water, some industry experts are of the opinion that with drastically reduced water flows, the drainage pipeline will eventually be blocked.

This can lead to overflows and can adversely affect public health and the environment.

So, there is a need to review the plumbing code for a better overall design consideration for a more efficient discharge drainage system.

Chia Wai Chon

Operations Manager

Singapore Plumbing Society

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Water conservation efforts may affect plumbing'. Print Edition | Subscribe