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PUB rolls out more water-saving initiatives
SINGAPORE national water agency PUB is rolling out new initiatives to enhance water efficiency and encourage water conservation, as the government looks to also use other levers besides pricing to ensure reliable and secure water supply. For the non-domestic sector, PUB will develop water efficiency benchmarks and good practice guidelines to help large industrial water users identify opportunities to improve water efficiency.
These will be developed from the water efficiency management plans that such users with a consumption of at least 60,000 cubic metres a year have been submitting annually since January 2015. Each of these 693 companies will also have to, from 2019 onwards, appoint a representative to go through a three-day course on managing water efficiency so as to be certified as Water Efficiency Manager.
This will equip them with the technical capabilities to assess water efficiency performance and identify opportunities for water savings, said PUB. For the domestic sector, the government will allow only fittings and appliances with at least two ticks to be installed in all new developments and existing premises from 2019 onwards. It will also extend the mandatory water efficiency labelling scheme to include dishwashers from October next year.
On top of these, PUB is starting a community programme to replace the existing nine-litre water closets of lower-income households with more efficient ones. It will also instal smart shower devices for 10,000 new homes as a demonstration project.
These measures to manage water demand come on the back of the government's announcement that it will raise water prices by 30 per cent in two steps, starting July this year.
"Our strategy involves not just long-term planning, but also right-pricing and water conservation measures," said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli. "All these levers work in tandem."
Planning and investing in water resources ahead of time is in the DNA of the country, he said. "This is even more critical in the face of looming challenges to water security due to climate change around the world."
Elaborating on the reason for the water tariff hike, Mr Masagos said that PUB will be accelerating infrastructure renewal plans to minimise pipe leaks and supply interruptions.
Singapore's water losses that are unaccounted for, which include leaks from the supply network, currently stand at 5 per cent - among the lowest globally, he said. In comparison, the leakage in London is about one-fifth of water demand.
To better adapt to climate change which brings about more intense storms, PUB will also continue to rehabilitate and upgrade the drains in Singapore, Mr Masagos said.
The agency completed drainage improvement works at about 300 locations between 2012 to 2016, and is working on another 90 locations, including the Stamford Detention Tank which will be ready this year. PUB will start work on 27 new locations this year, said Mr Masagos. "These works, when ready, will enhance flood protection for their catchments."