Selected homes to get water-saving flushing systems

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 9 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE — National water agency PUB will be helping lower-income families to save water, by replacing the 9L water closets of about 6,000 households with water-efficient 4L ones for free.

These families would be those living in public housing blocks built between 1986 and 1992, which have yet to undergo the Home Improvement Programme, which includes the replacement of their water closets.

Newer public flats already come with more water-efficient flushing systems.

PUB said that this group of households would “immediately” save 5L of water per full flush, and could potentially save 10 per cent in their monthly water bill.

More details on the replacement project will be made public in due course.

Announcing this plan in Parliament on Wednesday (March 8), Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli also revealed the progress made in cutting domestic water consumption.

Last year, households used 148L of water per capita per day. This figure is lower than the previous reported level of about 151L and just shy of Singapore’s target of 147L by 2020, although still a stretch from the 2030 target of 140L.

Water prices are scheduled to go up by 30 per cent over two rounds on July 1 this year and next year, with help being provided to most households.

On Wednesday, Mr Masagos highlighted measures other than “right-pricing” to promote water conservation, and said that he was inspired by people who have gone the extra mile to save water.

Over the next few years, PUB will be fitting smart shower devices in 10,000 new homes under a demonstration project.

This is based on an earlier study it conducted with the National University of Singapore, which found people using less water in the shower when they had devices that provided them with real-time water-usage information.

From October next year, dishwashing machines will also come under the Mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme.

And from April 2019, all new and existing premises that are undergoing renovation works must have water fittings classified as having at least two-tick efficiency.

For the non-domestic sector, which consumes most of the water in Singapore, heavy users (those consuming at least 60,000 cubic metres of water a year) will need to send representatives to attend a three-day water-efficiency manager course from 2019.

According to Mr Masagos: “Many of us are familiar with the Singapore Water Story. Perhaps there is a risk of over-familiarity, a certain jadedness from one too many social studies lessons ...

“The Water Story is a living story, and continues to be written by all Singaporeans today, whether in producing it, or in conserving it.”

Minimum standards for water fittings to be raised from April 2019
Channel NewsAsia 8 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE: As part of new initiatives to enhance water efficiency and encourage water conservation in Singapore, PUB will phase out less water efficient fittings, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Mar 8).

From April 2019, the national water agency will mandate the sales, supply and installation of water fittings with at least two ticks in all new and existing premises undergoing renovation. Dishwashers will also be included in the mandatory water efficiency labelling scheme from October next year, added Mr Masagos at his ministry's Committee of Supply debate in Parliament.

To further encourage water efficiency within households, PUB will introduce two new water conservation programmes, the minister said.

One of these will be the replacement of less water efficient nine-litre water closets with more efficient ones. "This can help them save up to 10 per cent in their monthly water bills," he said.

The agency will also be installing smart shower devices for 10,000 new homes as a demonstration project, Mr Masagos revealed. The smart shower device provides real-time information on water consumption during showers, and an earlier small-scale study found that a person could save up to five litres a day using these devices.

"If the positive effects are validated in the demo project, PUB may roll out the devices to more households," he said.

The minister noted that in 2016, households used 148 litres of water per capita per day, down "significantly" from a decade ago, but there is "still some way to go" to reach the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint target of 140 litres by 2030. "If each of us can save 10 litres of water per day, that is almost half a desalination plant."


Mr Masagos also gave an update on the Water Master Plan, a strategic blueprint for Singapore's water resource until 2060, saying there has been "good progress". The plan provides for the development of NEWater and desalination plants to meet up to 85 per cent of Singapore's water demand by 2060, as well as new pipelines for drinking water and used water.

He noted that the country's fifth NEWater plant, located at Changi, officially opened in January this year, and the third desalination plant in Tuas will be completed this year.

The fourth and fifth desalination plants in Marina East and Jurong Island are underway, he added, while phase two of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System - which includes the water reclamation plant and NEWater factory at Tuas - is on track for completion by 2025.

"All these have now become critical so that we have a resilient water supply when the weather does not favour us," he said.

The minister's updates came after Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget speech last month that water prices will increase by 30 per cent in two phases over the next two years, starting from Jul 1 this year. This is the first time in almost 20 years that the Government is revising water prices.

- CNA/kk

Water-efficient toilet bowls, smart shower devices for homes
Audrey Tan, Straits Times AsiaOne 9 Mar 17;

Old flats will get new toilet bowls as part of the national push to save water. In another move, intelligent devices will help people track how much water they use as they shower.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, in announcing both initiatives yesterday, said Singapore could do more to reduce water usage.

"I have been inspired by the many stories of people who have gone the extra mile to conserve water... This is the right spirit. We should do more together," he said during the debate on his ministry's budget.

The first effort involves replacing non water-efficient toilet bowls in Housing Board flats built between 1986 and 1992, occupied by lower- income households.

PUB said details about both projects will be announced later this year.

The existing, single-flush 9-litre toilet bowls in these flats will be replaced with more efficient, dual- flush ones that have a capacity of 4 litres. This is expected to reduce monthly water bills by up to 10 per cent.

Such a replacement is expected to save 5 litres for each full flush, and about 6,000 flats may benefit.

The other project involves installing smart shower devices in 10,000 new homes. These devices tell people how much water they are using as they shower. Both schemes come under national water agency PUB.

PUB also clarified changes to water usage calculations, after Mr Masagos revealed slightly lower per capita water usage.

Last year, PUB excluded water usage in dormitories and common areas when calculating per capita daily water usage, to better reflect water consumption within household residential premises.

Based on this new formula, each person in Singapore used about 149 litres of water a day in 2015, less than the initial reported figure of 151 litres. The figure declined to 148 litres last year.

However, it remains some way off from the 2030 target of 140 litres a day, Mr Masagos said yesterday.

"My ministry and PUB have a suite of measures - in addition to right pricing - to promote greater water savings for households and businesses," he said.

The Government had earlier announced that PUB will raise water prices by 30 per cent over the next two years.

Mr Masagos was responding to queries raised by six MPs, including Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim (Nee Soon GRC) and Dr Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC), on how lower-income households can cope with increased water prices.

The installation of the smart shower devices follows an earlier study that PUB did with the National University of Singapore, which showed that a person could save up to 5 litres of water a day using such devices.

To further help people save water at home, Mr Masagos said PUB will start to phase out less water-efficient products.

PUB will raise the minimum standards of water fittings to two-tick products, up from one-tick, from April 2019. The tick system awards more ticks to more water-efficient products.

PUB will also extend such labelling requirements to dishwashers from October next year.

In response to questions from Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) and Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) on the Republic's plans to cope with unpredictable and intense rainfall, Mr Masagos said PUB will start drainage improvement works at another 27 locations.

Such works have already been conducted at about 300 locations islandwide over the past four years.

The Stamford Detention Tank - an underground concrete tank that can hold up to 15 Olympic-size pools worth of rainwater - will also be ready this year. The Stamford Diversion Canal and Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal will be ready next year.

"These works, when ready, will enhance flood protection for their catchments," said Mr Masagos.

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