The cost to operate Singapore’s water system in 2015 is about S$1.3 billion, compared with S$0.5 billion in 2000, national water agency PUB informed.
Over 15 years, PUB has invested about S$7 billion in water infrastructure, and will flow out about S$4 billion from 2017 to 2021 to boost the infrastructure and resilience of the water system to meet the country’s growing demand, PUB said.
The increase includes all the components of the total water price, comprising the water tariff, the water conservation tax and used water charges.
PUB said that the S$1.3 billion was spent on water treatment, reservoir operations, NEWater production, desalination, used water collection and treatment, and the maintenance of the island-wide network of water pipelines in 2015.
“Over the last 17 years, costs have increased and adjustments are needed to reflect the latest costs of water supply. The increase in water price will also allow us to continue investing ahead of time so all of us can continue to enjoy a high quality and reliable water supply,” said PUB spokesperson. PUB also said the water price is set to reflect the cost of water supply and the scarcity value of water.
Speaking at Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Budget Forum yesterday (23 Feb), Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that he understands the public’s concerns over the price hike, but informed that ‘there is never an ideal time’ to raise prices. He said, “Water for us is a matter of national survival ... of strategic importance”.
Water prices increase will start fully on July 2018, with a partial increase to take effect on 1 July this year. From S$2.10 per cubic meter, domestic users will have pay S$2.39 from 1 July 2017, and S$2.74 a year later.
Mr Wong said the Government also give out Goods and Services Tax vouchers to help households offset the increases.
“We are mindful that everyone may be in different circumstances and even the rebates might not be enough for some, so we will look at different ways to help them. There is a range of local financial assistance schemes, including through ComCare, that we can provide for those in need,” he said.