Friday, 19 March 2010

Conserve or be rationed

There were warnings from the Penang Water Supply Corpo­ration (PBA) yesterday that water rationing may be imposed in the state if the current dry spell does not break by the end of April. There are fears that our "exceptionally good" weather may continue well into May.

According to a PBA spokesman, the current water levels at the Ayer Itam, Teluk Bahang and Mengkuang dams were at 75 percent, 82 percent and 94 percent capacity respectively. “The water at the three dams can last between 75 days and 240 days. But if there is no rain by the end of April, precautionary measures will have to be introduced."

I happened to be around Ayer Itam today and took a brief drive up to the Ayer Itam dam to access the situation myself. Although I was relieved that the level was still adequately high - the 75 percent mentioned above - I believe there is real cause for concern.

Yes, we should not take water for granted. It's our responsibility to play our part during dry spells such as this. After all, we will be the ones affected if there really is water rationing.

So how do we conserve water and protect our environment. Perhaps these 32 useful tips from the PBA website can be our starting guidelines.
  1. Avoid using a hose as far as possible.
  2. Wash your car or motorcycle less often. Wipe dirt off with a damp cloth instead.
  3. When you need to wash your car or motorcycle with water, try using a bucket and a piece of cloth or sponge.
  4. When you cannot avoid using a hose, install a turn-off nozzle on the end of the hose to adjust the water flow and turn the water off and on.
  5. Replace all hoses which are leaking immediately.
  6. Water your plants with a watering can.
  7. Water from your fish tank and water which is used to clean food can be re-cycled to water plants.
  8. Water your plants at the roots, not the leaves or flowers.
  9. Water your plants in the morning or evening, when there is less evaporation.
  10. Clean your porch and driveway with a broom and dust pan. 
  11. When cleaning your home, mop the floor instead of splashing water.
  12. Never leave the tap running.
  13. Turn the tap off when soaping, brushing your teeth or shaving. Only turn it on when rinsing your hands or face.
  14. When bathing, turn off the tap when soaping your body or applying shampoo. Better still, take shorter showers.
  15. When bathing your children or pets, only fill the tub with as much water as needed.
  16. Make sure all taps are shut properly after use. 
  17. Teach your children to shut taps properly.
  18. Fill your sink to wash and rinse food.
  19. Fill your sink to wash your dishes and cutleries.
  20. Use a microwave oven to defrost frozen food instead of running water. You can also de-frost food “naturally” by leaving it outside the refrigerator for awhile.
  21. Do not leave the water running when washing clothes by hand. Fill buckets for washing and rinsing.
  22. If you can afford it, a new energy-efficient washing machine can save water, and cut down on your water and electricity bills.
  23. When using a washing machine, try to wash only when there is a full load.
  24. If you have to use your washing machine with a smaller load, set a lower water level as required.
  25. Pre-soak dirty clothes with stubborn stains before washing to avoid repeated washings.
  26. If your clothes are not so dirty, set a shorter washing cycle.
  27. The latest “dual flush” toilet systems can save up to 10 litres per flush compared to older systems. Usually a half flush (3-4 litres) will do the job.
  28. Don’t use the toilet to flush tissues or rubbish. Put it in the rubbish bin.
  29. Check your toilet system for leaks. Pour some food dye into the tank and leave it for 15 minutes. If the water in the bowl is coloured, repair or replace the flush system.
  30. Install aerators on all your faucets to reduce water flow. 
  31. Check all your taps and pipes for leaks regularly.
  32. Repair all leaks immediately. If a tap is leaking at one drop per second, it will leak 10,218 litres per year.

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