4,000 people turned up for an event about water on a Saturday
Water Wally be proud.
3rd March was the launch of Singapore World Water Day and I wanted to see how comfortable Singaporeans, especially the younger generation who has never faced any water shortage or serious water pollution problems will convene over an event about water.
Could an event just about water be interesting? Sure, it’s a necessity, but as the saying goes, “plain as water.”
An expression I love to describe bland personalities with.
I couldn’t imagine a less entertaining way to spend a Saturday morning. The last time I thought twice about water was back in Chemistry class — two hydrogen molecules and an oxygen molecule. I found my mind drifting toward my hungry Tamagotchi.
Making my way to Marina Barrage, which is at the southern edge of Singapore, I realised that you can get quite beautiful views of the sea there. Apparently, it also functions as a dam.
Its ability to keep out the seawater creates one more reservoir for Singapore. At the rate of our water consumption, the more reservoirs the better right?
Nothing beats having sufficient water in a country where some people actually shower up to 40 minutes.
I was quite surprised at the number of people there on a Saturday morning. Many of them were in exercise gear and seemed to have just appeared at the Barrage, intentionally or unintentionally.
Impressive. Most people I know would be drooling on their pillowcases.
After mingling with the crowd for a while and fantasizing about the breakfast I should have had, the sound of drums announced that the President had arrived.
It was my first time seeing the President, so that was pretty exciting to me. I guess Singapore World Water Day must be pretty high on the priority list for the President to appear.
Apparently, she came by water taxi, which made me wish I had that sort of grand entrance.
After the President’s speech about strengthening our water security via conservation, I walked around to check out the booths.
Levi’s Jeans had a booth convincing people not to wash their jeans but to spot clean them instead. That’s because throwing them in the washer destroys the organic nature of the indigo dye, causing them to fade.
I remember some friends laughing at me for throwing a branded pair of jeans in the wash. Although I liked that the faded jeans became a personalised signature of sorts.
Of course, not washing them saves water as well. I guess that’s a win-win.
PUB (obviously) had some activity booths teaching us how to save water.
For example, you could find four plastic ticks in a washing machine full of clothes; a booth game that reminded us to use 4-tick rated washing machines on full load.
There was even a real toilet bowl to remind us to use half-flush. I’m glad nobody did their business there, but it served handy as a chair.
I had fun taking a fact test with the people from #lepakinsg which runs community events and education about the environment.
Did you know? NEWater is used mainly for industrial purposes and there are five NEWater plants, supplying up to 40% of Singapore’s current water needs.
I also learnt interesting facts about our 4 national taps; such as how energy-consuming desalination is. It is still a R&D work-in-progress to look into ways to reduce the energy use for desalination.
The highlight of my day was seeing the formation of the “Make Every Drop Count” aerial photo.
Obviously, I was not able to fly up to see the water droplet formed by blue cards, but it was entertaining to see the Scouts and other community partners pose to create a water droplet shape. Even the President and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources joined in.
Overall, I was quite surprised at the huge turnout. I saw people of all ages having fun, participating in the booth activities and even taking a pledge to save water. It made me contemplate about how we often take water for granted.
Thankfully, there was no point in my life where I switched the tap on in Singapore and saw yellowish water, an experience I had in New York; or worse, have no water come on.
But the convenience might have made us forget that water is a limited resource on our small island city.
Over the years, many measures have been rolled out such that Singaporeans can have a constant supply of clean, potable water. I never have any qualms about just drinking directly from the tap.
The event reminded me of how important water is in our daily lives. We depend on water for our hygiene, consumption, and even sports like swimming or canoeing.
The many joggers and cyclists that morning reminded me that clean water bodies also create many beautiful environments for us to enjoy.
I guess Singaporeans do care about water more than we think we do.
Top photo by PUB
This post is sponsored by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency who organises Singapore World Water Day annually to remind Singaporeans how precious a resource water is.