Time's up, finish your shower please

SINGAPORE - THE timer lights up five minutes into your shower.

The signal - to prompt the person to finish showering - is part of a new strategy by national water agency PUB to save water.

The timer - which will be distributed to schools and communities - is among two new plans the PUB will tap on early next year to encourage Singaporeans to spend less time in the bathroom.

It will distribute 90,000 of the waterproof digital timers and also come up with a "shower dance" to teach children to keep bath times under five minutes.

The moves are part of a drive to cut the average household water use from 153 litres per person per day now to 147 litres by 2020.

The PUB is targeting the shower nozzle because baths make up the highest proportion of a home's water use, at about 30 per cent. A 2010 survey found that most people take showers that are between five and 10 minutes.

For each minute a person shaves off this time, he can help Singapore save nine litres.

The digital timers come with suction devices to allow people to stick them on bathroom walls.

The PUB will commission a five-minute shower dance - complete with a catchy jingle -to encourage schoolchildren to limit their bath times.

It will be taught in primary schools to "demonstrate how water conservation can be simple and fun", said the PUB last Friday, in reply to queries.

Participating pupils will be given the timers and booklets to track their shower times for a week.

The goal is to bring at least 39,000 kids on board and prompt them to spread water-saving tips to their families and neighbours.

Some schools will be chosen to perform the dance at the Marina Barrage and other locations in Singapore during World Water Day on March 16.

Most parents are in favour of the new plans although some said the PUB should also try to reach out to older students via creative means.

"A shower dance probably won't work for secondary-school students but computer games or prizes might be useful to get their attention," said bank executive Lianne Teo, 36, who has a seven- year-old daughter.

Others said the waterproof timers would be helpful since they do not usually keep track of how long they are in the shower.

Pupils can also take part in a water-conservation animation competition and a water-audit game. More details are available at www.pub.gov.sg - the PUB website.

Other PUB moves to reduce water use in homes in the past have included giving away devices which can be attached to taps to regulate water flow.

There is also differential pricing, with domestic consumers paying more for water usage above 40 cubic metres per month.

zengkun@sph.com.sg


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