Message of saving water bears repeating

A woman drinks from a bottle of water.
A woman drinks from a bottle of water. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

There have been a number of chilling reports recently about water crises in the region (Murky waters worry Johor residents, June 23; and A city dries up, June 25).

These reports serve as a reminder to Singaporeans that water is an extremely precious resource and should never be taken for granted.

With increasing demands and cases of pollution affecting our water source in Malaysia, and witnessing how climate change affects other countries' water supply, we need to be mindful and grateful that water is readily available, and that clean water remains a luxury for many in developing countries.

Notwithstanding this, many people in Singapore take water for granted.

At my workplace, bottled water is usually provided at events, and more often than not, I observe bottles that are half or three-quarters full being thrown away. Take a stroll in the park and half-filled drinking bottles in bins are a common sight.

Ironically, such behaviour arises because of the Government's efficiency in ensuring that the people's water needs are met and that trash is disposed of properly.

Some suggestions to drive home the message of conserving water:

- Ban the distribution of bottled water in all government premises and events, and impose a plastic tax on bottled water. After all, plastic bottles are highly polluting and unnecessary when our tap water is drinkable.

- Create awareness that Singapore's tap water exceeds World Health Organisation standards, and encourage citizens to drink directly from the tap.

- Designate water rationing days in schools at least once a year, to instil in students the importance of water in our daily lives.

Lee Yong Se