Although 70% of the Earth’s body is covered with water, only 2.5% are fresh and drinkable water. There’s always the risk that there would be limitations in our daily source of water. In fact, in 2030, it is estimated that half of the world’s population could be living in high water stress areas, meaning places with insufficient water to cater to all. In Singapore, although we are surrounded by water, it is important to note that we do not have aquifers or groundwater. In fact, the country relies on rain as a source of water. But, even then, there are restrictions as the country could not afford using large areas of land to collect and store this rainwater. Aside from being innovative and thinking of other sources of water (e.g. imported water, NEWater and local catchment areas), it is also vital to spread awareness among Singaporeans on how precious water is and to inculcate good water-saving habits. Below we look at four areas where there is a high amount of water usage and share with you some effective ways where you save water at home.
Did you know that showering accounts for 27% of Singapore’s household water consumption? This alludes to the fact that there is significant potential to save water in this area as well. One technique you can adopt is to reduce your shower time by one minute. Although this does not seem like an onerous task at all, the implications are outstanding.
By reducing your shower time by one minute, you can expect to save at least nine litres of water a day. Additionally, if you have a water heater at home that does not automatically provides hot shower and dispense cold water instead, it is a good practice to collect, store and utilise this cold water for other uses instead. For example, you can use this cold water to water your plants, to mop the floor or even to do your car-washing. Good news awaits as well as there are various efforts and initiatives by Public Utilities Board (PUB) to save water during showering as well. From 2018 onwards, PUB will be deploying smart shower devices at selected flats. These devices will display real-time water consumption and provide colour codes at the showerhead to indicate varying water consumption levels. Users can also set their water conservation goals. With many tips and devices in place to aid you to save water while showering, it is a good time to give it a try.
The second highest level of household water consumption in 2016/2017 comes from flushing at 18%. For this aspect of water usage, PUB has outlined several tips which you can undertake to save water. Instead of using full flushes for four times a day (which will use 18 litre of water), you can instead opt for only 2 full flushes and 2 half flushes a day which will use only 15 litre and entitle you to 3 litre of savings in water.
On a related note, if you are still using the old model of toilet seat and are planning to install a new one, you can opt for a toilet seat design with a dual-flush button (i.e. full and half flush button) that can aid you better in your water-saving efforts. Additionally, there are various other alternatives you can look into to save water from your flushing. For example, you can re-use rinse water from the washing machine for your flushing purposes or use the collected cold water from you shower tap (see above) instead.
Coming close behind flushing in water consumption is water usage from the kitchen at 16%. For our kitchen needs, dishwashing typically uses the largest amount of water as we use it every time after cooking and eating.
A classic method of saving water while washing your dishes is to wash it in a filled sink which can be done by plugging the drainer. This ensure that you do not run the risk of wasting water while letting the tap run during washing. According to PUB, washing your dishes in a filled sink container can enable to you to save up to 28 litres. For those who are not comfortable doing so as the water can get greasy or dirty mid-way during washing, you can still opt for this technique but instead drains out half of the water mid-way while washing before adding in fresh water.
All this serves to ensure a controlled use of water from the tap. Another tip to take note of is not to use excessive soap as they will require more water to wash away the suds. To tailor how much soap you need, you can read the instructions on the dishwashing soap label to ensure that you use just the amount you need.
Laundry also takes up a substantial amount of water consumption in Singaporean households at 15%. Most Singaporean households have the convenience of using washing machine for their laundry needs but this can potentially result in the risk of water wastage if you set your washing requirements in the machine at higher rate than your existing load.
To avoid this, you can opt to use the washing machine only when you have a full load. Best part, is that you are not only water-efficient but energy-efficient too. Another tip to take note of is to use or purchase a washing machine that has four ticks as they are most water efficient. In fact, the four-tick rating machine was just recently implemented in Singapore on April 1 of last year. A four-tick rating machine ensures that you save more water in the long run as they only use 6 litres or less of water per kg load. In comparison, a three-tick rating washing machine uses nine litres of water per kg load.