Watch water usage, says PUB, as dry period lingers

Watch water usage, says PUB, as dry period lingers
Dry weather caused the grass to turn brown and water level to recede at the Eco Lake at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 17 February 2015.

National water agency PUB has urged Singaporeans to conserve water even as it keeps the country's water supply healthy during the ongoing dry weather.

It told The Straits Times yesterday that it sent out circulars to 27,000 non-domestic water users - including town councils and schools - last month to encourage them to save water.

"PUB also urges people to do their part, for example, by taking one to two minutes less in the shower and running washing machines only on full load instead of half load," a spokesman said.

Households, organisations and businesses should also cut down on non-essential uses of water such as the washing of cars and common areas, she added.

All parts of Singapore had below average rainfall last month, ranging from 10mm to 150mm. The lowest recorded was 95 per cent below average.

Rainfall over the next two weeks is also expected to be below average, although showers are expected on a few days.

The transition to the inter-monsoon period at the end of the month is expected to bring more rain.

Still, the dry period is not as severe as that of a year ago, when there were two 27-day dry spells from Jan 13 to Feb 8, and Feb 17 to March 15.

As grassy patches turn brown and bodies of water recede, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said on Facebook yesterday: "Our water levels are falling. Actually, the reservoir levels would be even lower if not for the additional desalination and Newater production by PUB."

The agency said it has been injecting about 25 million to 30 million gallons of Newater per day into the reservoirs here for the past two weeks, so their water levels have remained healthy.

"We monitor the water levels in the reservoirs continuously using online water level sensors, and reservoir staff also take daily readings from level gauges," it added.

The National Parks Board (NParks), for its part, has been planting more drought-tolerant plants. To conserve water, it has not had routine watering of roadside plants for several years.

It added that "in the event of a prolonged dry spell or national water crisis, only young saplings and significant trees like heritage trees are watered selectively".

An NParks spokesman also pointed to a silver lining: "Some trees have started to flower due to the recent dry weather, including the Rosy Trumpet Tree, Yellow Flame Tree and Golden Shower Tree."

zengkun@sph.com.sg

 
This article was first published on March 3, 2015.
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