Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Very Long Dry Spell, & Singapore World Water Day

I can't remember the last time it rained. Growing up, I've always loved the rain. I remember standing at the window on a chair just smelling and then proudly telling my family "yao xia yu liao!" It's actually one of my favourite smells.

I haven't smelt that in months. Google tells me the last time it rained was 20th February, but I wasn't around to witness it, so in my memory, that didn't happen. Which meant that the last time I saw it rain in Singapore was in January. 


I felt 2 drizzles the last week, but that was it - drizzles. And they lasted like a minute or less before it's all sunny again. 

Now I understand what this means.

The grass along the sidewalks have all turned brown, and the haze from our neighbours' hotspots aren't helping much. 

Please rain soon?

It's *Singapore World Water Day today (15 March 2014), and I was at Marina Barrage for a water conservation event. It's really all common sense and was probably taught to us in primary school or elementary school, but do we know how to conserve water, and have we been doing so? Have we been taking for granted our water supplies? 

*World Water Day is on the 22 March 2014. 

I'm so used to having fresh potable water just by turning on the tap, and this crazy dry spell has led me to think - what happens if I don't have access to this anymore?

I remember when I used to stay in the Kampung, we had pails of water stored up in the bathroom. They were fond memories of course (think metal pails), but do we need to start doing that soon? 

Here's a recap on some of the things you were probably taught when you were a kid, and maybe it's time we start practising them. =D

Of course, the ways to save water are endless!
  • Shower instead of take baths. It uses a lot less water. If you HAVE to take a bath, keep the water for washing the floor and flushing the toilet.
  • Keep showers under 5 minutes. A 5 minute shower leaves you as clean as a 10-min one, and every minute you save in the shower saves you 9 litres of water. That's close to 5 days of drinking water! 
  • While shampooing or soaping yourself, turn off the tap.

  • Same goes for when brushing your teeth or washing your hands.
  • Use a tumbler/mug to rinse your mouth with when brushing your teeth, instead of leaving the water running.
  • Turn the tap on low. You don't need to turn the tap all the way. Usually a moderate trickle is more than necessary. 
  • Reuse your towels. You use it wipe your clean freshly-showered body, so it's going to be clean. I wash mine every 1-2 weeks.
  • Use one cup a day. You don't need one cup for each cup of something that you'd drink. Just reuse your cup and wash less!
  • *Use the rinse water from the washing machine to flush toilets / wash the floor.

  • Wash clothes on a full load. Don't use the washing machine for just one underwear. Like seriously? -duh-
  • If you're buying a new washing machine, go for a front-loader. It uses only 40% of what a top-loading washing machine uses, as it spins clothes through the water instead of sloshing them in it. 
  • Else, just choose your washing machine with many many ticks. From 1 April 2014, only washing machines with at least one tick will be allowed for sale in Singapore. The minimum standard will be raised to 2 ticks from 2015 onwards. Yay to nationwide water efficiency!

  • Soak, don't scrub. After you're done with your cooking/eating, soak the dishes immediately for a while before you wash. Scrubbing under running water is a waste of our precious drops!
  • Thaw frozen meat in the fridge. Instead of under running water.
  • Wash vegetables and dishes in a filled sink/basin instead of letting the water run. 
  • You can do the same for your toy dog.
  • Use water from washing rice and vegetables to water your plants.
  • Water your plants only when necessary. Many plants die from overwatering instead of under watering. 
  • If you live in a landed house, adjust your sprinkler such that only your plants and lawn are being sprinkled, not the road, sidewalk, or passersby. 

  • Use a pail when washing your car, instead of hosing it down. That wastes A TONNE of water, big time.
  • House train your pet properly so that you don't have to keep washing the floor each time he pees anyhow, anywhere. Alton is blind, but he tries to pee where he's supposed to, most of the time. 
  • *Repair leaks promptly. If you can't get a plumber soon enough, keep the water that's leaking out with a pail. You can use it for other stuff later.
  • Use the half flush. Trust me, it works, even for erm, big businesses which aren't too scary big. And remember those pails of water you kept from the washing machine and your baths? Use those to flush. Flushing accounts for 30% of household water usage. Have a think about that. 
  • If you can stand it, here's something I got from other countries' water-saving guides - If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down! Meaning you don't flush every time you pee. Like, maybe save it till the water looks really orange. Or brown. Erm...well, if you can stand it, you might consider this.
  • Throw the squished cockroach or the mucus-y tissue into the bin instead of flushing it. Unless once again of course, you're using recycled water to flush.
  • Monitor your water bill. That's the easiest way to gauge if your family members have been doing their part. ^.^

  • Growing up, I showered with my cousins a lot. Like all 5-6 girls together. Lol. You can try showering with your pet, or kid, or have your young kids bathe together. could shower with your partner (only works if things don't get out of hand). Of course, if things get too steamy, do turn off the tap first before proceeding with whatever. Every drop counts! Haha!

*Of course, with all these kept waters in pails, do monitor that they do not get stagnant for too long. You don't want a case of dengue attack amidst the dry spell and the haze. 

We don't know how long this drought is going to persist. It rained in certain parts of Singapore, or so I heard, but I haven't felt anything in Woodlands since January. So every drop counts now.

Can you think of anything else? How do you save water at home?

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