The water prices for both domestic and non-domestic consumers will be raised, more details will be announced during Budget 2017 on 20 Feb, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Tuesday (7 Feb).
Mr Masagos spoke during a visit to Tuas Desalination Plant 3 this morning, the higher costs of producing water and the need to price water right were caused by the less reliable weather, as reasons behind the first price adjustment in 17 years.
Mr Masagos posted his visit to Tuas Desalination Plant 3, which is 60 percent completed, on his Facebook. He announced the Request for Proposal (RFP) by PUB for the fifth desalination plant, which will be built on Jurong Island. Together with the fourth plant in Marina East, these 2 desalination plants are aimed to be completed by 2020.
Mr Masagos said that water is currently under priced, “Going forward we are seeing higher costs in producing water. This is not just because of the plant. We also have to take in consideration urbanisation and therefore our pipes have to be dug even deeper.”
“At the same time we are also looking at renewing old plants, old transmission pipes and this will definitely add costs to our operations,” he said.
Currently, water tariffs are tiered, depending on whether it is for domestic, non-domestic or shipping use. For domestic users, there are two levels of tariffs, S$1.17 per cubic meter or S$1.40 per cubic meter, depending on consumption volume. Water conservation tax is 30 per cent of the tariff, before GST.
However, Mr Masagos did not give an indication of how much prices would go up by. He said there was a need to balance the sustainability of supply and reflect the scarcity of water.
“There is no need for water rationing at the moment,” Mr Masagos said.
Singapore’s four national taps are water from Malaysia, the local reservoirs, desalination and NEWAter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan recently warned of a ‘significant risk’ of Linggiu falling to zero per cent this year, if it turns out to be a dry year.
Last year, the Linggiu reservoir that helps Singapore to draw its entitlement of water from the Johor River has hit record lows.
Mr Masagos’ Facebook post said, “The water level at Linggiu Reservoir remains low at 32%. Should dry weather return after the Monsoons, as it did over the last two years, there is a real risk that Linggiu Reservoir could still fail over the next 2 years. We need to plan for such contingencies, and make timely investments so that we will not be caught off guard.”