Homes With Maids Are Using 20 Percent More Water: PUB Survey

Shabnam Muzammil

Homes that employ domestic help in Singapore, consume more water than those that don’t. Here we find out why and give you 5 methods of water conservation you can practice as a family.

Households with maids use up to 20 per cent more water than households without. Photo: iStock

Homes with domestic help in Singapore use more water 

According to a new survey by national water agency PUB, homes with maids use up to 20 per cent more water, with a daily per capita consumption of 160 litres on average, as opposed to homes without maids that use approximately 135 litres. 

The survey, which was released yesterday together with the agency’s annual water conservation campaign, took into account households, of which 15 per cent have maids. With approximately 255,000 maids working in more than 200,000 Singapore homes, maids are key players in helping conserve water and will play a crucial role in helping PUB reach its target of lowering daily household water consumption per person to 130 litres by 2030. 

Water consumption rates currently stand at 141 litres per person recorded last year. However, this is a decrease from the 2016 figures of 148 litres per person. 

The recent survey reported that showering, flushing, kitchen activities and laundry were responsible for 77 per cent of total water use in a home. 

On that note, households with maids tend to use more water, as household chores like washing and cooking are performed more often. 

domestic help in Singapore

One reason for increased water consumption in homes with maids is the increase in the frequency of household chores. Photo: iStock

President of the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast), Mr Seah Seng Choon, was reported as having said that more awareness among domestic helpers could be raised on water conservation and in being efficient with water consumption. 

He noted that maids are usually trained primarily to “get the cleaning and cooking job done”, and their training would not include water conservation methods. 

He added that the Association (Fast), has a module in our Onboarding and Integration Programme to teach new domestic helpers water-saving habits, and they have “worked with PUB to educate more than 3,000 domestic helpers since the programme’s launch in 2017.”

Meanwhile, MP Lee Bee Wah, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for the Environment and Water Resources commented on the importance of educating maids on the conservation of water, noting that “We should incorporate water-saving into the training of domestic helpers before they get employed, and also reach out to existing domestic helpers in their own languages.”

5 Methods Of Water Conservation

domestic help in Singapore

PUB’s graph on water consumption. Photo: PUB

Discuss the importance of conserving water and existing policies, and go-over PUB’s guide to conserving water, which was published primarily for new homeowners, but could also be used to educate maids and all members of the family. The guide can be on PUB’s website.

The tips include 5 methods of water conservation families can practice at home:

  • Washing dishes, food items and pets with a basin of water instead of with running water,
  • educating all members of your family to have short showers,
  • using a cup for rinsing water when brushing your teeth,
  • running full loads of laundry to conserve water more efficiently, and
  • checking for leaks on faucets and pipes.

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



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