Budget debate: Singapore's daily water consumption rose in 2021 for second straight year

Under Singapore's Green Plan 2030, the country aims to reduce household water consumption to 130 litres per person per day. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Household water consumption is on the rise again for the second year in a row, with each person in Singapore using 158 litres of water a day in 2021, up from 154 litres in 2020.

In 2018 and 2019, the per capita daily use of water in the domestic sector was 141 litres - the lowest since 2015's 151 litres.

Under the Green Plan 2030 - Singapore's blueprint for a more sustainable future that sets out green targets - the country aims to reduce household water consumption to 130 litres per person per day.

Last year's figures for daily water consumption per capita were revealed by Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan on Monday (March 7), during the debate on his ministry's budget.

"The Covid-19 pandemic saw water consumption shift from the non-domestic sector to the domestic sector," Mr Tan said.

"In 2021, non-domestic water consumption fell by 6 per cent while domestic water consumption increased by 6 per cent compared with the pre-Covid-19 period."

Mr Tan said this was largely because people spent more time at home because of work from home and home-based learning arrangements, as well as more frequent hand washing, showering and cleaning by households to maintain higher hygiene standards.

Mr Ridzuan Ismail, director of national water agency PUB's water supply network department, told The Straits Times separately that household water consumption per capita had been on a downward trend since 2015 and until the onset of the pandemic.

He added: "Even as Singapore continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also important to ensure that everyone uses water efficiently and plays his or her part to create a sustainable future.

Earlier this month, PUB launched its annual water conservation campaign, Make Every Drop Count, to urge people to save water.

The Republic also plans to use technology to help bring down water consumption.

Said Mr Tan: "PUB will support households to make informed choices and raise awareness on water consumption at home, for example, through the Smart Water Meter Programme."

For instance, PUB started installing smart water meters in Tampines Central in January.

The aim is to eventually install some 300,000 smart water meters in new and existing residential, commercial and industrial premises, said Mr Tan, with a target of completing the roll-out by 2023.

A conventional water meter (left) and a smart water meter. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Smart water meters installed at Block 413 Tampines Street 41. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Mr Ridzuan said smart water meters provide customers with on-demand and convenient access to water consumption information, empowering them to better manage their water usage and save water and money in the process.

PUB's earlier pilot trials of smart water meters in Punggol in 2016 and in Yuhua in 2018 showed that households achieved average water savings of about 5 per cent from early leak detection and adoption of good water-saving habits, he added.

Moreover, as showering is an activity that accounts for close to 30 per cent of a household's total water use, Mr Ridzuan said PUB collaborated with the Housing Board in 2018 to install 10,000 smart shower devices in new Build-To-Order flats.

PUB and HDB will review the results before fitting more flats with these devices in the future, he added.

Mr Ridzuan also urged people to buy water-efficient washing machines, toilet bowls, dishwashers and taps, adding that they can take their cue from PUB's water efficiency labelling scheme that awards more ticks to more efficient products.

Since 2019, the minimum water efficiency standards for the sale, supply and installation of taps and water closets was raised to two ticks. The most water-efficient products are awarded four ticks.

Under the Climate Friendly Households Programme launched in 2020, all households living in one-, two- and three-room HDB flats can get a $50 e-voucher to purchase and install water-efficient shower fittings rated three ticks.

The programme encourages households to take action to reduce water and energy consumption while also saving costs.

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