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Water sustainability in Singapore


As part of the continuing World Environment Day (WED) campaign on sustainability in our daily lives at the GAR Singapore office, we took a look at water sustainability last week.

Don’t take clean water for granted

Water is absolutely essential in our daily lives. Yet the on-tap availability of water is also something that we in Singapore take for granted. We are very fortunate that despite the fact that Singapore is water-scarce, we have seldom experienced water cuts, rationing or shortages. As someone who has lived in other parts of the world, I can tell you from first-hand experience that water cuts can be immensely frustrating. Having to line up with buckets to collect water from trucks, scheduling showers, eating with disposable plates and cutlery (because there is no water to wash up) and even having to ration water for the toilet is not something that I would want to live through again.

Sustainable Development Goal 6
Sustainable Development Goal 6.

According to the UN, Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers). This why access to fresh water and sanitation is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN last year.

The situation in Singapore is nowhere as dire – but we can all do better and be more mindful of how we use water as it is actually a very precious commodity.

Take shorter showers

With this in mind, we invited PUB‘s Community Relations Officer, Diana Cheong, to give us a talk on water in Singapore. Apart from interesting facts about how Singapore ensures an adequate supply of water in the country, through water catchment areas, importation, NEWater processing and desalination, she also encouraged us to save water through some simple steps at home. One of these is actually to have a shorter daily shower. Everyone should aim for a 5-minute shower to save water, and to help us get into that habit, we were all given a timer to attach to our bathroom walls.

A few ways to save water and money on water bills
A few ways to save water and money on water bills.

It’s easy to take our modern amenities such as the ready availability of fresh, clean water for granted. With the global population as well as the population in Singapore continuing to rise and needing more water, we can’t afford to waste this precious resource.

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