Replies - Water supply

Promoting conservation a key facet of PUB's work

We thank Mr Seah Yam Meng, Mr Philip Siow, Mr Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar, Mr Tan Kim Hock and Mr Foo Kwang Sai for their feedback and suggestions on desalination and water conservation (Focus on desalination as main tap, Feb 8; Public action must complement government efforts, Feb 12; Cost not the only factor to consider with desalination, Feb 12; Small household habits can add up to a lot, Feb 16; Offer rebates to those who use less, Feb 16).

It is heartening to know that water sustainability is a topic that is close to the heart of many and that there is strong awareness that we must never take water for granted.

PUB is committed to ensuring a diversified and sustainable water supply through our four national taps: catchment water, imported water, Newater and desalinated water.

Newater and desalinated water have become increasingly important as they are weather-resilient sources that strengthen Singapore's water security especially in the face of climate change. Our fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island is targeted to be ready later this year.

Construction is ongoing for the second phase of PUB's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System - due to be completed by 2025 - which will further boost Singapore's used-water recycling rate and enhance our ability to produce Newater.

But even as we continue to build up our water production capabilities, demand for water will inexorably increase. Promoting water conservation remains a key issue that PUB has invested considerable effort, in the form of public education campaigns aimed at forging a strong water-saving culture in Singapore, and forums for industries to share their experiences in water recycling.

PUB has stepped up its efforts to reach out to households, businesses, industries and the young.

Since 2007, more than 350 industries and businesses have reduced their water demand by up to 50 per cent through recycling efforts and water-efficient processes.

It is important that children cultivate good water habits from a young age. We have worked closely with schools to hold water rationing exercises during our annual water conservation campaign, with students from over 100 schools taking part in March 2019.

We recently launched a new mascot Water Sally alongside the iconic Water Wally, and a new storybook series to be distributed to close to 1,800 pre-schools for storytelling sessions in class. We also collaborated with renowned children's education brand Pinkfong to produce a song to reinforce the value of water.

Over the last two decades, we have made significant strides in encouraging households to reduce their water consumption. In 2019, daily consumption stood at 141 litres per person. The goal is to reduce this to 130 litres by 2030.

This year, PUB's water conservation campaign next month will focus on climate change and its impact on Singapore's water sustainability.

As pointed out by Mr Tan, every little bit helps - even small habits like turning off the shower while soaping can make a difference. Every individual can play a part to strengthen Singapore's climate resilience by using water wisely and making every drop count.

Ridzuan Ismail

Director

Water Supply (Network) Department

PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2021, with the headline 'Promoting conservation a key facet of PUB's work'. Subscribe