2 ticks to be the hurdle for washing machines

SINGAPORE - Two ticks and you are in. Fewer than that, and you're out.

From April 1, all new washing machines sold here must have at least one tick, under a ratings system for water efficiency. This will be raised to at least two ticks next year.

The new regulation, under the Minimum Water Efficiency Standards scheme, was announced by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament yesterday, in a bid to reduce water consumption.

He added that Singapore has been able to meet its water needs throughout the current dry spell so far, due to desalination and Newater plants running at "almost full capacity".

Dr Balakrishnan said: "We are reasonably secure for now, but we should not be complacent."

The higher standards - some appliances now have no ticks - mean that, of the 550 washing machine models here registered under a national labelling scheme, almost 80 will be disallowed.

Washing machines account for about 19 per cent of a typical household's water consumption, according to PUB.

To encourage consumers to conserve water, the PUB has also started visiting households with high water-usage habits to educate residents.

Also, 25,000 advisories have been sent out to non-domestic water users.

Currently, the non-domestic sector - which includes hotels, schools and office buildings - consumes just over half of Singapore's total water demand of 400 million gallons per day. The PUB estimates that this will hit 70 per cent by 2060.

The PUB will also make it mandatory from June next year for all firms consuming over 5,000 cubic metres of water per month to install water meters and submit water-efficiency management plans annually.

"We believe that these plans will help companies become more aware of their water-usage patterns, that they will identify ways to reduce their consumption and raise their efficiency," said Dr Balakrishnan.

To help these firms implement the new measures, PUB will co-fund up to 90 per cent of the cost for water audits and meter installation, subject to a maximum cap of $30,000.

This is up from the 50 per cent limit introduced in 2007.


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