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Write about water conservation in different countries in about 100 words.

 
Human needs can be narrowed down to three essentials: air, water and food. Without air one would not survive ten minutes; without water one would likely die of dehydration within ten days; and without food, the body would probably expire after ten weeks.

The average person requires between six and eight glasses (about two litres) of drinking water a day to maintain the hydration of tissues in the body, and to facilitate the physiological processes of digestion. In addition, water acts as a transport medium for nutrients within the body, helps to remove toxins and waste materials, stabilizes the body temperature, and plays a crucial part in the structure and function of the circulatory system. In short, water is the elixir of life.

People living in modern cities get water at the turn of a tap, a convenience that has spawned a careless attitude towards this crucial substance. What is more, most Asian governments provide water to consumers and industries alike at a low to nominal tariff.

Modern urban living has bred a generation of Asians who are careless in their usage of water. Singapore, for example, has increased its rate of water consumption over the last ten years and more than half has been for domestic usage. Calls to cut back on usage have fallen on deaf ears since average daily consumption keeps rising annually.

Singaporeans have been warned that they would run out of water if the consumption is left unchecked. Recent conservation measures introduced include the installation of low-capacity cisterns that reduce water used from nine litres to as low as 3.5 litres per flush in public housing estates.

The low cost of water for household consumption makes people feel that water is something they can get easily. Thus, the Singapore government has acted in curbing excessive use of water by raising the cost of water. Water rates in Singapore are among the highest in Asia - and for good reason, as the city ranks as the sixth most water-scarce country in the world.

In contrast, the Japanese have a generally frugal attitude towards water. Communal bathing is a traditional habit in rural Japan and is a definite form of conservation. After individual ablutions, an entire family uses the same tub of water - the father goes first, followed by the children and then the mother. This system is incredibly efficient, with a family of five bathing in less than twenty litres of water. Housewives may even keep the bath water for washing the laundry.

In Tokyo, water conservation takes on a hi-fi slant. Some apartments have a computerized toilet that flushes automatically when a person stands up and one can choose to have a big or small flush. The bath is also computerized with a warning buzzer that goes off when the tub gets too full. Many bathroom sinks are connected via a pipe to the toilet cistern - thus the toilet is flushed with water from the sink.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, has maximized its biggest water resource - the ocean. Sea water is used as flushing water in many of the city's toilets.

 
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Answer
 
One of the steps taken by the Singapore government to conserve water is by installing low-capacity cisterns which reduce water used in public housing estates. Water consumption is reduced by 5.5 litres per household. The government has also raised the cost of water. In Japan, measures taken to conserve water include the traditional habit of communal bathing, using the bath water for washing laundry, having computerized baths and toilets as well as using sink water to flush toilets. However, Hong Kong has maximized the ocean and sea water is used for flushing many of the city's toilets.  ( 97 words )
     
cistern   a container in which water is stored, especially one connected to a toilet or in the roof of a house
     
ablution   the act of washing yourself
     
 
 

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