Parliament: Two new programmes to help households conserve water

Two new initiatives, including one that involves the installation of smart shower devices for new homes, have been launched to help households conserve water.
Two new initiatives, including one that involves the installation of smart shower devices for new homes, have been launched to help households conserve water. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Two new water conservation programmes for households will soon be rolled out, in line with the Government's push for people to save water.

The first is a community project for lower income households to replace their existing 9-litre toilet bowls with more efficient ones that can reduce monthly water bills by up to 10 per cent.

The other project involves the installation of smart shower devices for 10,000 new homes. These devices provide real-time information on water consumption during showers. Both schemes come under national water agency PUB.

Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced both initiatives on Wednesday (March 8) during the debate on his ministry's budget.

In 2016, households used 148 litres of water per capita per day, down from the 151 litres in 2015. However, this remains some way off from the 2030 target of 140 litres a day, Mr Masagos told the House.

"My Ministry and PUB have a suite of measures - in addition to right-pricing - to promote greater water savings for households and businesses," he said


The Government had earlier announced that PUB will raise water prices by 30 per cent over the next two years.

The installation of smart shower devices in 10,000 new homes follows an earlier study that PUB did with the National University of Singapore, which showed that a person could save up to 5 litres a day using such devices.

During the trial, conducted from June to December in 2015, some 550 households in public housing estates islandwide received a smart device to be mounted on a handheld shower head that shows a polar bear's ice melting as more water is used. And, if consumption continues unabated, the bear disappears.

Apart from the polar bear animation, the device showed real-time information on the amount of water used as well as ratings from "very good" to "too much".

Study participants used 20 litres of water per shower on average initially. But, by the end of the study, those who had the animation, real-time information and ratings on their device, saved 3.8 litres per shower, a 20 per cent savings. The amount saved per person was about five litres of water each day.

There were also spillover effects, with participants cutting down on water used for other activities, such as washing in the sink. It helped each person save about 40 cents each month based on current water pricing.

Said Mr Masagos: "If the positive effects are validated in the demo project, PUB may roll out the devices to more households."

To further help people save water at home, Mr Masagos said PUB will start to phase out less water efficient water products.

PUB will raise the minimum standards of water fittings to 2-tick rating for sales, supply and installation of water fittings from April 2019. The tick system awards more ticks to more water efficient products. PUB will also extend such labelling requirements to dishwashers from October 2018.