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Singapore water price hike necessary

Monday, 27 March 2017

Singapore: The water price hike is necessary to bring home the scarcity of water but more time could have been spent explaining the price increase before it was announced, so that people would not have been so surprised, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Commenting on the 30% price hike announced last month, Lee spoke about water’s importance to Singapore’s survival and said it must be priced to reflect its scarcity. Raising water tariffs, rather than taxes, is a fairer way to foot the bill needed to pay for investments in water infrastructure, said the Prime Minister at the completion ceremony of the revamped Pang Sua Pond in Bukit Panjang on Saturday.

The Singapore government is looking at other ways to bring down the cost of producing water and encouraging conservation. About 40% of Singaporeans disagreed with the price hike, according to a recent survey by government feedback unit Reach. Lee acknowledged that the hike has provoked a strong reaction from Singaporeans. However, he stressed that water is fundamental to Singapore’s survival. The hike is the first in 17 years.

Despite Singapore’s 4 sources of water – Johor, the reservoirs, Newater and desalination – the country will “never have the luxury of not having to save water, or to make every drop count”, said Lee. He said that people now understand the issue better after a rigorous Parliament debate this month, during which ministers explained why the hike was necessary and what the Government was doing to help households cope.

For example, the increase is over 2 years, and lower-income families are given extra U-Save rebates so that “they actually have to pay very little”, said Lee. He added that the Government is supporting research into new ways of making Newater more cheaply, and encouraging big users of water such as industries to recycle more and use water more efficiently.

“But we also have to price water properly, because it’s scarce, and not cheap to produce, and consumers need to know how precious it is every time they turn on the tap.”

National water agency PUB has said the cost of developing and operating Singapore’s water supply system has gone up from US$500 million in 2000 to US$1.3 billion in 2015.

This includes water treatment, reservoir operations, Newater production, desalination, used-water collection and treatment, and the maintenance of water pipelines.

Source by: Internet

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