With the PUB (Public Utilities Board) announcing a 30% hike in the cost of water to homes in Singapore, financial implications have now been added to the ethical on the question of water waste.
Singaporeans currently consume about 400 million gallons a day. The business sector uses 55% and homes consume 45%. Singapore has a sustainable and diverse water supply also known as the Four National Taps from reservoirs, NEWater (recycled), desalinated water and imported from Malaysia.
While some are understandably unhappy with what at first seems a large increase, many are applauding what appears to be an attempt by the government to put an end to the frivolous use of such a vital resource.
Despite the obvious environmental merits of being frugal with water use, the bottom line is that cutting out water waste will prove a boon for your bank balance in the long-term.
So here are seven (relatively) easy steps you can – and should – take to lower the water output in your home:
1 Store drinking water in the fridge
Most already do this thanks to Singapore’s tropical climate making the tap water lukewarm at best. But it should still be said that storing water in jugs in the fridge will lead to less waste long term than when you run the tap each time straight into a glass. Given the quality of the water here, you don’t even need to use a filter.
2 Spend less time on long, hot showers
We’re all guilty of it – nothing beats a long, hot shower at the end of the day, or even as a wake-up call ahead of work. But cutting down your shower time by five minutes will save upwards of 15,000 litres of water a year. Add in the electricity savings from not using as much heated water, and you’re looking at potential yearly savings in the hundreds of dollars.
3 Switch off the tap when brushing and/or shaving
This one is a hard habit to break at first, but definitely the easiest to do. If you prefer to have a constant source to clean your razor – or rinse your brush – just fill a cup of water and keep it nearby. Simple.
4 Use a thimble/low-flow filter for taps and shower heads
A smaller hole for water to get through means higher pressure and less water used. When it comes to showers this can mean a reduction of close to 50% water use.
5 Buy a dishwasher
This sounds like an expensive and illogical option given the coming price hike. But in the long term, using a dishwasher for your dirty plates and cutlery will save you pot-loads (no pun intended) of water and money. You use 17% less water by putting a full load of washing up into one of these machines than doing so by hand. If you already have a dishwasher and need to rinse plates before loading, fill up a container for this rather than running the tap.
6 Run only full loads for dishwashers and washing machines
Following on from step five, only run dishwashers – as well as washing machines – when they are fully loaded. Not only does this reduce the number of times you need to use them, thus saving water, but the amount of water used per item of clothing/dish washed goes down.
7 Check for leaky pipes or faucets around the home and be vigilant in monitoring your PUB bill
Identifying and fixing leakages in pipes, taps and showerheads will reap significant financial benefits in the long run, even if that drip seems insignificant on a given day. However not all leakages are visible or easy to identify, so your backup here is to monitor the cost of your monthly PUB statement. Any sudden and unexplainable rises (beyond the coming 30% increase) could be a hidden leak somewhere in your home. This is something you need to fix as soon as possible.
People go through on average 150 litres of water in a single day, or 100 full kettles. By being more aware of our water use, we can all save money – and the environment – and enjoy a happier future!
For more information:
Breakdown of water usage - https://www.pub.gov.sg/savewater/athome