First to get PUB's smart shower device

Army regular Joseph Soh, 30, with his 26-year-old wife Caroline Huang, a housewife, and their child Jaylyn checking out the smart shower device. Ms Huang says the device "is a very creative solution because it shows me how much I'm using, something I
Army regular Joseph Soh, 30, with his 26-year-old wife Caroline Huang, a housewife, and their child Jaylyn checking out the smart shower device. Ms Huang says the device "is a very creative solution because it shows me how much I'm using, something I normally have no idea about".ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Some residents of the upcoming West Rock@Bukit Batok estate will be able to keep tabs on how much water they use in the shower.

The Housing Board (HDB) project, which will be completed later this year, will have 300 of its units fitted with smart shower devices that track water consumption.

The devices are the first of the 10,000 that national water agency PUB plans to install in 10,000 Build-to-Order homes by the end of next year.

These devices will give residents real-time information - through a display panel or colour codes - on how much water they use in the shower. Residents will also be able to set water conservation goals and monitor their usage history via an app.

The devices retail for about $150 each, but PUB paid less due to bulk orders. The agency said these shower devices will not come at additional cost to home owners.

The shower devices will be progressively installed in other new developments, such as Meadow Spring, Toa Payoh Apex and Buangkok Park Vista. Families who have opted for sanitary fittings under the HDB's Optional Component Scheme will get the shower device.

  • Brisk response to green call

  • When the North West Community Development Council (CDC) put out a call last year for 10,000 volunteers to build up community programmes within the next five years, it fulfilled its goal much sooner than expected.

    Within a year, 14,000 volunteers took part in its activities, and 8,000 of them participated in the CDC's green initiatives, the highest rate of involvement among all its programmes.

    Of the 8,000 volunteers, half conducted house visits to educate and encourage residents to play a role in fighting climate change by reducing their energy consumption.

    Those 4,000 volunteers, who are school students, encouraged residents to sign up for a six-month energy consumption audit. In total, the programme saved up to 88,400kwh in energy - enough to power 340 three-room flats for a month.

    Speaking at the North West Volunteers' Awards 2018 ceremony yesterday at Nanyang Polytechnic, Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District, said: "We are heartened to receive an overwhelming response from our volunteers within such a short span of time.

    "This year, in line with Singapore's Year of Climate Action, we would like to call out for more volunteers to be part of our green movement to raise awareness among our residents about climate change and to educate them on ways we can combat climate change as one."

    Senior Minister of State Sim Ann was the guest of honour.

    Jose Hong

Ms Caroline Huang, 26, will move into West Rock@Bukit Batok with her husband and two young daughters later this year. Her monthly water bill is $30 to $40, and she hopes to save $10 to $20 with the smart shower device.

"I think it's a very creative solution because it shows me how much I'm using, something I normally have no idea about," the housewife said.

She admits that seeing the water consumption display will add pressure to her showering routine, but she thinks this is a positive sort of pressure.

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Amy Khor, said that based on a PUB study, showering consumes the highest volume of water in a Singapore household.

Of the real-time water consumption information the smart devices provide, she said: "Hopefully... it helps (consumers) to change their behaviour."

The Government wants Singapore's daily household water consumption per person to be 140 litres by 2030. Consumption fell from 148 litres in 2016 to 143 litres last year.

During the recent debate on his ministry's budget, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said water pricing is fundamental to managing its production and consumption. "It must allow for long-term investments and reflect the scarcity value of water," he said.

Jose Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'First to get PUB's smart shower device'. Print Edition | Subscribe