Singapore

Households with maids use 20 per cent more water: Survey

They average 160 litres daily per capita compared with 135 litres in other homes

Households with maids use 20 per cent more water than those without, a survey by national water agency PUB has found.

On average, the daily per capita consumption of such homes is 160 litres while that of homes without a maid is 135 litres.

The reason for the higher water consumption could be that washing and cooking activities are done more often in homes with maids, PUB said yesterday.

Still, the findings, based on 400 households surveyed between September 2018 and March last year, show consumption is declining when compared with the previous months.

Between September 2016 and April 2017, the corresponding daily per capita consumption were 164 litres and 142 litres.

The latest poll, in which around 15 per cent of the households have maids, was released alongside the launch of the agency's annual water conservation campaign yesterday.

The new survey found that showering, flushing, kitchen activities and laundry remain the biggest water guzzlers, forming 77 per cent of total water use in a home.

But on average, the daily per capita consumption of households has dropped from 148 litres to 141 litres, said the PUB.

The agency's goal is to bring it down to 130 litres by 2030.

Greater effort can be made to raise awareness of efficient water use in households, especially among domestic helpers, Mr Seah Seng Choon, president of the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) told The Straits Times.

With about 255,000 maids working in more than 200,000 Singapore homes, the survey results highlight the crucial role they play in saving water, he added.

Maids may not be trained to save water as their main role is to get the cleaning and cooking job done, he noted.

"Fast has a module in our Onboarding and Integration Programme to teach new domestic helpers water-saving habits.

"We have worked with PUB to educate more than 3,000 domestic helpers since the programme's launch in 2017," he said.

One employer gave her maid an incentive to save water.

Plant safety manager Gloria Ng, 46, said: "I let her see the bill size and told her she gets to keep any money saved from the monthly water bill."

GOOD PRACTICES

Other good practices include washing dishes, food items and pets with a basin of water instead of running water. But 94 per cent of homes wash their dishes under a running tap.

Similarly, 66 per cent use running water to wash the toilet and 41.5 per cent when cleaning their pets.

"There is potential for households to use water more efficiently when doing their daily chores, simply by not letting water run needlessly from the tap or the hose," said PUB's director of water supply (network) department Ridzuan Ismail.

Environment