Make water rationing part of civil defence strategy

The unprecedented low levels in Johor's Linggiu Reservoir and the record high temperatures experienced in Singapore are strong signals of an urgent need for action to confront a possible water crisis ("Tuesday was S'pore's warmest day on record"; April 21, and "Water levels in Linggiu Reservoir hit new low"; April 13).

In the event that Singapore is hit by a heatwave as severe as the one felt in parts of northern Malaysia, the use of water will also rise and aggravate the situation.

Hence, the Government should not delay in introducing some form of water rationing.

We are a population where the majority have not experienced a single day of water rationing in their lives.

It is an inconvenience that is alien to most people. They would have little clue on how to react to it, let alone prepare for it.

If water rationing is implemented, no home, school, office or mall should be exempt - perhaps except for hospitals and other medical facilities.

A rationing exercise will send a strong message that no one is immune in a national water crisis, and that we must all do our utmost by practising good habits in the use of water.

Even if done on a limited scale, water rationing will gauge the public's ability to respond and cope, and show how resilient we are when the unavailability of a critical resource is thrust upon us, albeit for a brief and planned period of time.

A timely water rationing exercise, like a fire drill, should constitute a critical element of our civil defence strategy.

Ooi Mun Kong