Voices

‘Old’ ways of saving water still good practice now

From

Joachim Sim Khim Huang

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Published: 4:00 AM, March 18, 2017

The impending price hike for water is fundamentally about people taking personal and collective responsibility for the sustainability of this critical resource in Singapore. It must become a personal priority, and we need to change our behaviour as consumers.

In the early 1960s, there were just three reservoirs serving the population and industrialisation needs of the nation. A severe and prolonged drought made it necessary to ration tap water over many months, when the flow of clean water from pipes was shut off islandwide at certain times of the day. My parents had to build an above-ground “well” in our “kampung” compound in Tampines to store the water collected during the non-rationing hours.

Everyone in the family played their part by bathing with just a pail of water. We quickly learnt to be disciplined in our water usage, while caring for one another’s need for water.

Today, my family collects rainwater at home to water the plants in our efforts to reduce tap-water usage. Used water from the washing machine is re-used to wash the floor of the front porch. We clean the car with one pail of water, and use a towel to wipe down. To discourage mosquito breeding, we cover the containers of rainwater and used water we collect.

There are many ways we can help to conserve water for the good of our country, which still depends on imported water from Malaysia. As individuals, we can start by minimising water wastage in our daily activities. It is a small price to pay for ensuring a sustainable supply of water for all.