PUB knocks on doors to cut water usage

PUB knocks on doors to cut water usage

SINGAPORE - Singapore's national water agency is kicking things into high gear to urge high-water-usage households to tighten the tap in this current dry spell.

Since the middle of last month, PUB staff have either gone door-to-door to tell such households to cut down on usage, or sent them circulars urging them to "step up efforts to use water more efficiently" and to adopt water-saving measures like carrying out washing activities only when necessary and checking for leaks.

A total of 697 such households - all of which are at the higher end of above-national-average water users - have been approached.

Singapore's per capita domestic water consumption stood at 151 litres per day last year, a figure that has been falling over the past decade. In 2003, this figure was 165 litres per day.

The PUB did not say how much water consumption would render one a high-usage household, but experts interviewed said that such households can consume much more water than average as residents could be using a water hose instead of a bucket to wash their cars, for instance, or have large lawns to maintain.

Such actions do not help Singapore meet its aim to further reduce per capita domestic water consumption to 147 litres by 2020 and 140 litres by 2030.

On its part, the PUB said that it has temporarily closed three water play areas - at Marina Barrage, Alexandra Canal and Lower Seletar Reservoir - since early this month to "cut down on non-essential water usage". They will be re-opened when the dry weather ends.

A total of 25,000 advisories have also been sent out on the non-domestic front to, among others, town councils, schools and commercial buildings.

The PUB has also stepped up visits to non-domestic premises with high water usage - with 116 engaged since last month.

Singapore is enduring one of its longest dry spells, with little rain since mid-January. Last month was the country's driest in 145 years.

This has led to heavier water usage, with average water consumption rising from 400 million gallons a day (mgd) prior to the dry spell to 420 mgd now, a 5 per cent rise in total. The heavier usage is from both businesses and residents.

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