Buangkok residents get taste of water rationing

By Gerrard Lai

SOME 130 households in Compassvale Bow's Housing Board flats in Buangkok got a taste of how water rationing is done in times of crisis.

They were involved in the first water-distribution exercise held yesterday in Punggol South Constituency to remind residents of the importance of preparing for peactime emergencies, such as a sudden shortage of water.

Residents also witnessed fire-fighting demonstrations by the Singapore Civil Defence Force. The pilot programme was organised by Punggol Coris Residents' Committee and Punggol South Community Emergency and Engagement Committee.

A Member of Parliament (MP) for Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC), Mr Gan Thiam Poh, said: "Many of us have forgotten that Singapore faced water shortages back in the 1960s." However, the importance of queuing up to collect water in buckets may not be lost on the older generation who have experienced such situations, he said.

The event's guest of honour, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, said: "In the earlier days, we knew how to prepare for emergencies."

Mr Teo is also an MP in the GRC. He recalled a time when he was of primary-school age, and his father took him to MacRitchie Reservoir. It was during a dry period when "it had not rained for several months".

He said he was shocked to find only mud instead of water, likening the area to "some place in Africa where it has not rained for several months".

"It drove home (the message of) how important it is to be prepared for any kind of emergency," he said.

Mr Teo added that, during his childhood, his household always had an earthernware urn "kept full of water, in case the water runs out".

He stressed: "The purpose of today's exercise (is) to imagine what might happen if there's no water, or if there's a fire...(and to) make sure we can survive and our friends and neighbours will also be okay."


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