Families live on five-litre water rations

SINGAPORE – Spare a thought for the 22 hardy souls who braved an overnight water conservation camp this weekend and the hardships that came with it, like having to use a damp towel dipped into a bucket instead of a nice hot bath.

The camp, which was the first of its kind here, aimed to show five families – mums, dads and kids – and two other adults that water conservation is both vital and achievable.

They had to live on around five litres of water for 12 hours from Friday evening (March 1) to Saturday and were obliged to fill out a ration card every time they collected water from jerry cans and dispensers as the taps were turned off.

Most of the families found that living on five litres of water was slightly challenging.

Mrs Lynn Liu, 39, who brought her three daughters along, said she was a little uncomfortable with her children doing a towel wipe-down instead of having a shower.

“I guess one night without a shower is acceptable. But I am worried they would feel itchy in the night because they are young and their skin is sensitive,” said the Chinese-language teacher.

But one family found the five-litre challenge a walk in the park as they practice sustainability at home.

Mr Adam Reutens-Tan, 42, and his daughter have been using water-saving camp showers for three years.

“The camp shower runs one litre of water per minute compared to a normal shower that releases five litres of water per minute. We are both saving about 20 litres of water each day,” said Mr Reutens-Tan, principal consultant at the Community Foundation of Singapore.

He and his wife spray water onto the tiles using a spritz water bottle instead of filling a bucket when they want to mop the floor.

The family’s utility bill is below the average amount paid by residents in their condominium. Last month, the family of four used five cubic metres of water.

Mrs Adeline Goh, 39, who attended the camp with her husband and children, said: “Although we are also saving water at home by using used water to flush the toilets, for instance, learning through fun and measuring the water helped our kids be more mindful about how much water they were using.”

The Water For All Camp, which was held in conjunction with Singapore World Water Day, was organised by sustainable outdoor recreations company Better Trails and held in partnership with Waterways Watch Society and supported by PUB.

Better Trails co-founder Ding Kian Seng said he was moved when he saw Mrs Goh’s family collecting more water from their rations not only for themselves, but to cook eggs and make Milo for the other families.

“Adeline was not just saving water for her family, she was also generous in sharing her rations with everyone,” added Mr Ding, who led the camp.

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