Monday, 26 March 2012

10,000 pails, 1 message: Save water

World Water Day marked with activities across the island and conservation message
By Kezia Toh, The Sunday Times, 25 Mar 2012

More than 10,000 people toting small blue pails dotted the island yesterday to mark World Water Day. They walked, cycled or paddled with the buckets, symbolic of how people in developing countries trudge long distances to fetch water, and as a reminder to cherish the Republic's water resources.

At the main event at Marina Barrage, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said Singapore should not take its water security for granted.

He noted the changes in climate patterns and the ever increasing demand for water.

The Republic has diversified its water sources to end reliance on imported water. Singapore is on track to achieve water self-sufficiency by 2061, when the second water agreement with Malaysia expires.

But such self-reliance still rests on collective efforts to ensure water security.

'We will need the collective efforts of every individual, young and old, not just to conserve water in our daily activities but to also keep our water resources clean for long-term sustainability,' Dr Tan said.

A string of 15 celebrations marked the day, where a record of over 25,000 people attended.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was at Jurong Lake where about 1,000 people took part in a mass water filtration exercise. Participants used material such as sand and cotton wool to filter untreated water.

Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim led a 200-strong team on a 5km kayaking trip from Kolam Ayer to Marina Barrage.

The events also held a certain nostalgia for Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who took a 1km walk at the Lorong Halus Wetland. While there, he said that he first visited the area - then an active dumpsite - 15 years ago as Environment Minister.

Today, there is a bentonite clay wall to filter and clean the water.

'To see it today was quite incredible,' he added.

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