Have you ever felt guilty about regularly flushing your toilets thinking that it’s consuming more water than necessary? A lot of articles have been written about the environmental impacts of our flushing habit. However, a recent study in Singapore revealed that showering is actually the top water-consuming activity for residential places, while flushing comes second. Among other high-water demand activities include doing the laundry and washing the dishes. This is revealed by a study released by PUB in early 2018, which they also continue to update year after year.
Fortunately, though, another significant finding from the same study is that most households are now shifting to more water-efficient household products. This was particularly observed among showerheads installed in residences, which are now configured to the most efficient flow-rate. The same positive trend is likewise observed for other appliances and plumbing systems including faucets, water fittings, dishwashers, and washing machines.
As early as 2009, the water agency of Singapore has required all suppliers in Singapore to indicate water efficiency ratings of their products under the Mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme or MWELS. This is aimed to raise awareness for consumers to be more conscious with the water-efficiency of the household products that they are buying. Singapore has likewise witnessed influx of water-efficient fittings, as well as an appliance in recent years, which officials also attribute to the increasing public awareness regarding this concern.
While there has been significant progress in terms of public awareness, PUB is now more concerned about behaviour change among consumers. The agency recognises that no matter how many water-efficient products enter the market, the decision to be more responsible with water usage remains as an individual choice – and it is these different choices that PUB as an agency encounters challenges. This, especially given the accompanying study of high shower usage of Singapore households. Basically, no matter the adjustment in the flow-rate of the showerhead, without a conscious effort to make shower time faster and more efficient, it will still not have a significant impact on the water conserved.
Among the efforts currently being undertaken by the agency are a series of awareness campaigns. A program called Water Closet Replacement Project was also launched by the agency, replacing old water closets for houses with more efficient ones for free. As monitored, a household shifting to this water closet can reduce their usual water consumption up to ten per cent.
Finally, there is also an effort to ensure that new developments, and even those pre-existing ones but are undergoing renovations to have 2-tick water fittings installed. If you belong to this group, make sure to talk with your resident plumber ahead before the old inefficient water fittings get phased out.
These are just some of the concrete efforts that the agency and the rest of the government have been advocating to make conservation a mainstream effort among all households. Most plumbers in Singapore are also well-oriented about these water-efficiency regulations of PUB.