Showering, flushing account for nearly half of water used in homes: PUB study

Gwyneth Teo Channel NewsAsia 1 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE: Showering and flushing make up nearly half of the water used in homes, national water agency PUB said on Thursday (Mar 1).

In a study done with 400 households in 2016 and 2017, PUB found that showering remained the largest guzzler of water in homes at 27 per cent. This was followed by flushing at 18 per cent, kitchen use at 16 per cent and laundry at 15 per cent.

The numbers are similar to its findings in a 2004 study, where showering accounted for 29 per cent of water usage in homes, while flushing made up 16 per cent.

In addition to water usage, the latest study also included information on water-efficient fittings in households.

In 2009, PUB introduced the Mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (MWELS), which requires suppliers to display the water-efficiency ratings of appliances of fittings. This allows customers to make informed purchasing choices. At the same time, minimum water efficiency standards for the products were introduced.

Products under MWELS include taps and mixers, low-capacity flushing cisterns, urinal flush valves and waterless urinals, and washing machines.

PUB found in its latest household water usage survey that more than half of the water fittings in toilets, kitchen sinks, showers and washing machines were efficient.

The water agency said this indicates a high penetration of water-efficient appliances and fittings in Singaporean households, and also shows a preference for water-saving devices.

Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive of PUB, said: “We are heartened that MWELS has helped people make more informed purchasing decisions. We will certainly continue to work with suppliers and retailers to bring equipment that are even more water efficient to market, so consumers can save even more water."

The PUB has implemented several programmes over the years to help households save water.

In 2017, it launched the three-year Water Closer Replacement Project, replacing inefficient nine-litre water closets in 1,100 eligible households on community assistance with efficient ones for free.

Those households saw an average 10 per cent reduction in monthly water usage. The project will reach about 7,000 households in total.

It also previously announced that it will embark on the Smart Shower Programme in 10,000 new homes to tackle the household area with the highest water consumption.

In this programme, a non-electrical, hydro-powered smart device provides users with real-time feedback on water consumption during showers.

A trial of the programme saw 500 households save 5 litres per person per day on average, resulting in an overall saving of 3 per cent on monthly water usage.

PUB hopes to prove the effectiveness of the device on a larger scale, and will bear the cost of the devices.

PUB will be kicking off its annual month-long water conservation campaign this Saturday.

President Halimah Yacob will join more than 4,000 participants in taking the inaugural "I Save" pledge to declare their commitment to saving water and fighting climate change.

To date, 4,700 pledges have already been taken to conserve water using five specific water saving tips. PUB expects to collect about 50,000 pledges during the month-long campaign.

There will also be more than 50 roadshows across the island, which makes this year's campaign the largest to date.

Source: CNA/aj