SINGAPORE — From 1 January next year, commercial water equipment and water closet (WC) flush valves that are supplied and sold in Singapore will need to meet minimum water efficiency requirements, said Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan on Thursday (4 March).
If all businesses were to switch to commercial equipment and WC flush valves that meet the minimum requirement, Singapore will be able to save about 0.72 million gallons, or 3.3 million litres, of water per day, equivalent to 480 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water annually, Tan said in Parliament during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate.
"Starbucks managed to reduce its annual water consumption by 2 per cent for its outlets that have switched to water-efficient dishwashers. 645 cubic metres of water was saved in a year, equivalent to about a quarter of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and it also saved about $1,800 from the annual bill," he added.
The non-domestic sector accounts for over half of the 430 million gallons of water, or almost two billion litres, consumed by Singapore every day. By 2060, national water demand is expected to almost double with non-domestic demand accounting for the majority of the demand.
The Public Utilities Board's new minimum water efficiency requirements apply to:
WC flush valves less than or equal to 4.0 litres per flush, equivalent to a minimum two-tick rating under the Mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (MWELS)
commercial dishwashers less than or equal to 2.4 litres per rack
washer extractors less than or equal to 8 litres per kg
high-pressure washers less than or equal to 11 litres per minute
Such equipment are commonly used by large water users such as hotels, hospitals, food and beverage outlets, laundromats, and cleaning companies, while WC flush valves are typically used in toilets with high usage frequency, such as public toilets in schools, shopping malls and hawker centres, and require regular maintenance.
By switching over, businesses can reduce their annual water consumption by between 4 and 15 per cent, and save on their utility bills, according to the authorities.
To facilitate early adoption of water-efficient equipment, businesses with monthly water consumption of at least 1,000 cubic metres can apply for PUB’s Water Efficiency Fund (WEF) to purchase water-efficient equipment, and receive funding of up to $300,000 or up to 50 per cent of the installation cost from now till December.
Separately, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is exploring a reporting framework to help companies gain better awareness of the amount of food waste that they produce. The data collected will aid future review and development of policies and programmes.
The NEA will be consulting the industry in the second quarter of this year on the proposal, with more details on the reporting framework to be released thereafter.
The NEA and the PUB will also embark on feasibility studies for the co-location of a food waste treatment facility with a greasy waste treatment facility at the PUB’s Changi Water Reclamation Plant to provide additional capacity for food waste treatment.
In 2019, Singapore generated 744,000 tonnes of food waste, of which 18 per cent was recycled. Commercial and industrial premises account for about 40 per cent of the food waste generated in Singapore each year.
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