In recent years, the Singapore government has been doing significant strides towards promoting more environmentally friendly practices, particularly those that concern water and energy. With household usage like showering and flushing taking a huge bulk of the nation’s water consumption, PUB is consistently coming up with regulations and innovations to make consumers more aware and responsible for their water usage.
Among the latest is the initial rollout of Smart Water Programme, which aims to provide both residential and commercial waters a more convenient and easy way to track their day to day water consumption. By giving them a meter installed by local plumber can be read by any layman, the National Water Agency is looking forward to better management of water among the country’s citizens.
According to the data from the agency, there are currently more than a million water meters installed across Singapore, which are manually read every two months. The new smart water meter, however, will read water usage every day, which means a more accurate reading. The programme aims to install 300,000 of this smart water meters before the end of 2023.
On PUB’s end, the reading of water usage several times a day provides them in a great resource to monitor the water supply and even detect leakage within the network. The smart water system also makes leak prevention easier for the water agency, and thus reducing supply loss.
On the consumers’ end, on the other hand, an online and mobile portal will be created as their platform to monitor their water usage data. This portal is also expected to alert the user if there is a leak in their system, and will thus allow them to seek plumbing assistance right away. Several cases of high water bills, especially in residences, is when leaks go unnoticed. Moreover, bringing closer this technology to the users themselves empowers them to be more aware and responsible for how they consume water.
PUB intends to make the shift to smart water meters large-scale to more efficiently manage the demand and supply aspect of water distribution in Singapore. Water conservation among the users is simply eyed as a positive yet more indirect impact of this initiative. This behaviour change was already proven way back in 2018 when the agency conducted installation trials. Those with installed digital meters immediately showed at least 5 per cent reduction in their usual water usage. This has established a significant impact of understanding water meters on their water consumption practices.
The first few batches of smart water meters are expected to be installed in the first few months of 2021. Following this, the water agency will then assess the impact of the initial rollout, and build on what can still be improved in the succeeding implementation phases.
Apart from this effort, the water agency has also previously promoted the usage of water-efficient household appliances, even passing a regulation for suppliers to indicate the actual water efficiency level of their products.