xGreen: How Much Water Can You Save With Water-Efficient Products? (Singapore)

Shaun Ho YL
| March 2020

How much water are we using?

Imagine taking a nice, relaxing shower after a long day at work. The calm you feel from the sound of flowing waters. The soothing relief on your skin when the blasts hit. Every bit of the shower is revitalising…

…except the realisation that it takes up around 27% of your household water usage (and your water bills).

Flushing the toilet forms 18% of your household water usage. This means that almost half of your water usage takes place in the bathroom alone. These numbers are based on a survey done by Singapore’s Public Utility Board (PUB) between 2016 and 2017 on household water usage in Singapore.

But that’s not all bad news, as it also means that using the right showerheads and cisterns can save you plenty of water.

Every drop of water count towards your bills. With ever-increasing water prices, it’s time to cut down on the consumption levels if you don’t intend to “spend money like water”. Following our previous post on energy labels in Singapore, let’s explore how water efficiency labels play a part in our everyday water conservation, without compromising our lifestyles.

Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS)

Similar to energy labels, the more ticks a product is given, the more efficient it is. Depending on the type of product, the labelling scheme can be either mandatory or voluntary. The information and maximum number of ticks presented on water efficiency labels also differ slightly across different products. Here’s a summary of the different labels:


With the market share of 3-tick washing machines increasing from 37% in 2011 to 88% in the first quarter of 2016, 4-tick ratings were introduced on 1 April 2017 to allow for finer differentiation of water-efficient washing machines. Subsequently on 1 October 2018, the Mandatory WELS (MWELS) extended its product range to cover household dishwashers.

With effect from 1 April 2019, all water-efficient fittings offered for sale, displayed or advertised for sale or supply in Singapore shall be of a minimum water efficiency of 2-tick under the MWELS. Suppliers and retailers may also choose to display the following four essential water efficiency label information

a) Tick Rating; 
b) Brand; 
c) Model Number; and 
d) WELS Registration Number

anywhere in the printed advertisements, without the need to display the image of the water efficiency label.

A detailed list of WELS rated products can be found on the PUB website

How much water can I save?

The amount of water that a 3-tick or 4-tick water-efficient product saves differs across products, and can be reduced by more than 50%! The figure below shows the estimated amount of water that you can save with water-efficient products from each WELS category. 


The estimated savings are calculated in comparison to the lowest tick rating for each product type. Compared to a 1-tick dishwasher, a 4-tick dishwasher can save around 56% of water usage!

Water-efficient products tend to be more expensive, but that is not always the case, and even less so in the long run. Considering that most appliances are supposed to last a long time, going for those with the maximum number of ticks will likely be worth the price tag.

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