Programme  OS6j Urban and regional water conservation and reuse  abstract 461


Author(s): Tay Teck Kiang
Deputy Director, Water Supply (Network) Department, PUB, Singapore (E-mail:, Tel: +65 67313406, Fax: +65 6731 3015 )

Keyword(s): water conservation, unaccounted-for water, public education

Article: abs461_article.pdf
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Session: OS6j Urban and regional water conservation and reuse

While Singapore can add to its resources and multiply every drop to meet the

increasing demand, we know that for sustainability of water supply, there is also the other part to curb water demand

growth. In this regard, PUB has in place an efficient water demand management programme to curb water demand

growth and stretch its limited water resources to the fullest.



PUB, the national water authority in Singapore, has always adopted a 2-pronged approach

in the management of the nation’s water supply for sustainability. While the PUB endeavours to develop water

sources to meet the needs of the people, it also places great emphasis on the need to manage water demand. Though

our water supply has been secured with the 4 Taps – Water from local catchments, imported water (Johor),

NEWater and Desalinated Water, there is still a need to control the demand of water so as to stretch our supply

sources and make them last.

Again, a 2-pronged approach is also adopted to effectively manage our water

demand – by way of implementation of water conservation measures to keep potable water consumption in check

and the other through the efficient management of the transmission and distribution system from water source to the

customer tap thus minimising the unaccounted-for water.


PUB’s water

conservation strategy in curbing water demand growth takes a multi-prong approach through pricing, mandatory

water conservation requirements and promoting and encouraging ownership and voluntarism through 3P partnership

in water conservation.


Pricing of water is an important and effective mechanism in encouraging

customers to conserve water. The water is priced not only to recover the full cost of its production and supply, but

also to reflect the scarcity of this precious resource and the high cost of water from developing additional sources.



Legislative measures have been put in place to deter water wastage. Punitive measures for non-

compliance include fines and/or court prosecution. The legislative measures are constantly being reviewed to keep

abreast of the latest development in the area of water conservation.

Ownership through 3P


Public Education and Publicity Programme

The Board has an on-going public education and

publicity programme to educate the public in the management of our water resources, emphasizing on the importance

of water conservation. The main objective of the programme is to effect behavioral change in the way water is being

used so that saving water becomes an ingrained habit. The various activities are targeted at both the domestic and

non-domestic sectors. Some of the major activities carried out were:

• Save Water Campaigns and

Sustained Publicity Programmes
• Educating Our Young
• 3P Partnership Involvement

Water Efficient Homes Programme
• 10-Litre Challenge
• Water Volunteer Groups
• Water

Efficiency Labelling Scheme
• Mandatory Installation of Dual Flush Low Capacity Flushing Cisterns

Water Efficient Buildings Programme
• Water Recycling and Substitution
• Water Efficiency

• Water Audit



Unaccounted-for water (UFW) is the difference between the amount of water supplied from the

waterworks as measured through its meters and the total amount of water accounted for.

In the early 1980's,

Singapore’s UFW was about 10% of total output. This high percentage of UFW was viewed with concern and

PUB thus intensified its efforts to reduce its UFW by implementing various measures broadly categorized as:

(i) network management;
(ii) leakage control;
(ii) metering policy; and

legislation on illegal draw-offs


Singapore has put in place a

comprehensive water demand management programme to ensure UFW is kept to a minimum at about 5% and

efficient use of water by both the domestic and non-domestic customers. The water conservation message has been

successfully driven home through the various water conservation, resulted in a reduction of per capita domestic water

consumption from 172 litre/day in 1995 to 158 litres/day in 2006. Industries are encouraged to substitute potable

water with NEWater and run Water Efficient Buildings. These water conservation measures coupled with

comprehensive UFW control programmes and keeping abreast with the latest technology will increase the efficiency

of water use and help to achieve water sustainability.

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