No water rationing for now: Vivian Balakrishnan

No water rationing for now: Vivian Balakrishnan
An elderly gentleman reading the paper near a parched patch of grass at a park in Ang Mo Kio.
More NEWater injected into reservoirs as water consumption inches up during dry spell
Published: 12:46 PM, February 28, 2014
Updated: 8:45 PM, March 4, 2014

SINGAPORE — Singapore will not have to start water rationing “at this point of time”, said Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan today (Feb 28).

Nevertheless, he highlighted the importance of conserving water, with Singapore still in the midst of its longest-ever dry spell, where rain has not fallen for 27 days between Jan 13 and Feb 8.

The dry weather will probably persist into the first half of next month, according to the National Environment Agency.

To maintain healthy water levels in the reservoirs, national water agency PUB last week increased the amount of NEWater it injects into the reservoirs to 30 million gallons per day. The desalination and NEWater plants are also running at close to full capacity. NEWater and desalination can meet up to 30 per cent and 25 per cent of Singapore’s water needs, respectively.

On average, water consumption last week increased slightly by about 15 mgd, said the PUB, an amount equivalent to about 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Speaking on the sidelines of the National Junior College’s annual road run, Dr Balakrishnan said that PUB will be starting a campaign today to urge all domestic and non-domestic consumers to cut down on water usage. For example, town councils will be asked to cut down on the frequencies of cleaning using water jets, while companies should consider switching off their water features to conserve water.

Dr Balakrishnan also said that water tariffs will not be increased “at this moment”.

Making the reassurance, he added that he received some feedback to conduct a water rationing exercise as a “dry run”.

He said: “I told them that I would consider it, but at this point of time, fortunately, we don’t need to do it. Our backs are not against the wall and we are not going to rush into a thing like that. Let’s focus on education, on passing the message (on conservation) and all of us doing our own part. That would be sufficient for now. I can give an assurance to Singaporeans that no matter how long this goes on, whether in the next few weeks or next few months, we’ll be all right.”