The Chinese language can be hard to learn, in my opinion. But sometimes, those characters can evoke the simply obvious, like the example here. (Of course, I’ve added my WittyCulus spin on it, just for pun 🙂 )

饮水思源 (Pinyin: yin2 shui3 si1 yuan2) is a Chinese idiom that literally means “when you drink water, think of its source,” as explained here. So, what’s the catch?

Man and woman drinking bottled water, contemplating where it comes from...

In Singapore, besides relying on our supply of water from the reservoirs, we buy water from our neighbour, Malaysia, as well. To alleviate this external dependency, our Public Utilities Board (PUB) has considered both recycling waste water and desalination of sea water. In 2001, PUB introduced their NEWater to the public.

As described on PUB’s website, NEWater is primarily used by industries which require pure water. However, “a small percentage of NEWater is also blended with raw water in the reservoir. The raw water from the reservoir then goes through treatment at the waterworks before it is supplied to consumers as tap water.”

This Earth Magazine article titled “Drinking toilet water: The science (and psychology) of wastewater recycling” tells us more about where waste water comes from and how it is made clean for human consumption. You can also learn about NEWater at Wikipedia.

So, the next time you drink water, do consider its source, as the Chinese saying beckons.

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