Forum: Small household habits can add up to a lot in water conservation efforts

Mr Philip K.S. Siow's suggestion to install eco-toilet systems in coffee shops and foodcourts is a novel idea to conserve water (Public action must complement government efforts on water conservation, Feb 12).

There are other simple ways to save a significant amount of water at home if we are prepared to put in a little effort.

I would like to share some of the ways I save water.

First, keep recycled water from the washing machine in big plastic containers in the toilet. Pour enough water into the toilet bowl to wash away urine. Flush only after defecating.

Second, wash vegetables and utensils in a basin, not under running water. Keep the recycled water for toilet use.

Third, when taking a shower, turn off the water while soaping one's body. Use a cup of water to rinse one's mouth after brushing one's teeth. Do not let water run while brushing.

Finally, I put a 1-litre plastic bottle filled with water in the toilet cistern, saving one litre of water every time I flush.

Granted, the methods I use may save only a few dollars a month. But it is not so much the money I save but the amount of precious water I save.

If the majority of families are willing to do what I suggest, the total amount of water saved every month should be considerable.

Parents must set an example in carrying out these suggestions for their children to follow. Our lifelong habits are usually formed when we are young. Therefore, besides parents, schools should also emphasise the importance of saving water. Students should constantly be reminded to use water sparingly, and wisely.

To further ensure that all citizens understand how important and scarce a commodity water is, public campaigns should be carried out from time to time to remind them.

I remember even in America, a huge country with abundant water resources, there used to be an amusing slogan encouraging people to save water when using the toilet: "When it's yellow, let it mellow; when it's brown, flush it down."

Tan Kim Hock