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Minister stresses importance of water conservation

SINGAPORE — Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan stressed the importance of water conservation during the current dry spell in his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate today (March 11), emphasising the need improve water efficiency in both industries and homes.

Minister stresses importance of water conservation

Some areas around the Lower Seletar Reservoir have dried up on 4 March 2014 due to the prolonged dry weather. Photo by Ooi Boon Keong

SINGAPORE — Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan stressed the importance of water conservation during the current dry spell in his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate today (March 11), emphasising the need improve water efficiency in both industries and homes.

Speaking in parliament, Dr Balakrishnan said his ministry will make it mandatory for all large water users to submit Water Efficiency Management Plans (WEMPs) with effect from June 2015. These plans help companies better understand their water usage patterns, identify ways to reduce water consumption and raise their water efficiency, he said.

First introduced in 2010, national water agency PUB has been encouraging the voluntary submission of the WEMPs and about 35 per cent of the large water users have done so.

To support these large water users, Dr Balakrishnan added that since March last year, PUB had enhanced the Water Efficiency Fund to co-fund up to 90 per cent or a maximum of S$30,000, for the cost involved with water audits and meter installation. This fund will then be enhanced to better support companies on efforts such as recycling or use of alternative sources of water, he said.

Likewise, to practice water efficiency in homes, Dr Balakrishnan referred to the Minimum Water Efficiency Standards scheme as an example, where only washing machines with at least 1-tick will be allowed for sale in Singapore from next month onwards. He added that the ministry intends to raise the minimum requirement to at least 2-ticks next year.

This will help save both water and money for Singaporeans, he said.

Although water resources ensure that Singapore’s water needs remain secure for now, the country should not be complacent, Dr Balakrishnan added.

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