When the taps ran dry yesterday at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School, some pupils had to wait their turn as a special guest scooped water from a pail for them to wash their hands at a basin in the canteen.
"It is important for Singaporeans, especially our younger generation who have not experienced water shortage or water rationing, to continue to be mindful of the importance of water conservation," the guest, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, later told reporters.
The school in Bishan is one of 95 across all levels that have held or are going to hold water-rationing exercises this month, as part of the month-long activities following Singapore World Water Day on March 3.
During the exercise, the water supply to the taps in a school is cut off and students have to use water collected in pails to wash their hands.
The number of schools taking part this year is double that of last year, and a total of 43,000 students are involved across the island.
At Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary yesterday, the water-rationing exercise started with a short introduction by Primary 6 pupil Taria Mulyadi. This was followed by a skit about the need for water conservation performed by Primary 6 pupils.
Dr Khor also observed a character and citizenship education lesson conducted in Mandarin on the water-rationing exercise. During the lesson, the children watched a video that explained Singapore's four national taps and why water conservation should be practised.
The children were also taught ways to reduce water usage, such as by taking shorter showers, using a mug when brushing teeth and washing clothes on a full load.
The school's principal, Madam Teo Ching Ling, said it was the first time that the school was participating in such an exercise. However, the school has been spreading the message of saving water through other lessons and activities, she added.
She said: "We tell the children that even though it is a water-rationing exercise, we hope that they would make it a habit to save water and really make every drop count.
"To us, it is not just about saving water - it is also part of National Education for the children and the next generation. It is important for them to have that sense of reality that water is indeed precious and not something to be taken for granted."