Needy families can save money on bills with PUB project to install water-efficient toilets

SINGAPORE - For Mr Teo Oon Peng's household, the replacement of their old 9-litre water closet to a more water-efficient one on Tuesday (June 20) will allow the family to save up to 10 per cent of their water bill.

Previously, their bills go up to around $40 a month. The 61-year-old mini-bus driver stays with his wife and mother-in-law.

"We usually do try to save water by flushing our toilet with the water we use to wash clothes and shower, and while saving $4 is not a lot, it is better than nothing," he said.

His family is one of the 9,000 families that the national water agency PUB expects to benefit through its project to replace for free the toilets, as well as washbasin taps and kitchen sink taps that are not water-efficient, into water-efficient types.

The three-year project was rolled out at the start of this month, where eligible households received letters notifying them of the project, and could contact PUB or its appointed contractor to arrange for the replacement works to be done.

For now, close to 200 households have been informed of the project and around 25 per cent have taken it up. Replacement works started in the past week.

The project, which was announced at this year's Budget debate, is aimed at those on community assistance schemes and living in HDB flats built between 1986 and 1992. The 9-litre water closets were phased out in 1992 and use twice as much water as new models. Water-efficient models use less than 4.5 litres for a full flush and less than 3 litres for a half flush.

On Tuesday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli visited residents at Tampines Avenue 4 to view the replacement of their non-water efficient water closets and taps. The replacement process takes around 3 hours.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Masagos said: "Saving 10 per cent of the water bill per household may not seem like a lot but when accumulated, it means a lot for the water conservation efforts of the nation."

The second phase will start in October for the remaining eligible HDB flats.

PUB has also collaborated with the Singapore Plumbing Society to offer for those who are not eligible for the free service to have the replacement works done at a discounted rate. The replacement of a 9-litre water closet to a more efficient one typically costs $450 but HDB homeowners can get it at $250.