Come hell or high water tariffs

 The day when water supply and distribution in Malaysia is totally privatised may not be a long way off, at the rate the rumbles r being felt. Selangor MB Dr Khir Toyo says the state government is looking at the forming a consortium to manage the water resource, supply and distribution.

 Selangor and Johor are the two states who have privatised water treatment and distribution in the country so far. The water demand in Selangor has increased almost exponentially in the last 15 years as steady migration to Klang Valley and increased industrial activities form the main reasons.

Now, this move will inevitably result in higher tariffs. Of course, you, you, you and YOU reading this will be screaming FOUL! But the reality is, water is a precious resource and we have taken it for granted for a long long time, thanks to government subsidies that kept it low.

 There WILL come a day, and it will not be long now, that the same government responsible for the 30 sen increase in petrol price would do the same with water supply subsidy. Mind you, we already have one of the lowest clean water tariffs in the region.

The Star reader Darren Khoo wrote a piece today expressing his hope that this won’t happen, but I must say I’m not optimistic about it. The reality is, the cost of treating and supplying water is spiralling (at least in the Klang Valley region)

The Selangor Dam in Kuala Kubu Baru was the last dammable place in Selangor and today it has three treatment plants run by Puncak Niaga and Splash. But the demand projections of 10 years ago predicted that after this year, Selangor would have to buy water from another state to meet the spiralling demand and a repeat of the 1998 water crisis.

Hence the Pahang water transfer pipeline project that drew a lot of brickbats from environmentalists for its ecological and social impact. Why does it have to come to this?

Because the government deems that its cozened citizens should be cozened further until they (the govt can’t bear the burden of subsidy) and then they will yank the rug from under the rakyat. Only one way to beat this people. Learn to treasure water.

I was told by a visiting French water treatment consultant in the 90s that we had it easy here. The French apparently paid the equivalent of RM5 per cubic metre of water when we were paying 50 sen. In Penang, domestic user rate is 31 sen.

Yes yes…the price of everything is going up these days. It will always be the middle class who will feel the pinch the most. However, water and energy rate increase will also have an accellerater effect on a lot of goods and services. In the long run, prudent water supply management and changing of our habits can only help us.

I will do my part today by bathing only once day : )


4 thoughts on “Come hell or high water tariffs

  1. The Selangor Dam in Kuala Kubu Baru was the last dammable place…

    Hmm, AR you meant that as a double entendre ke?

    But true, people here have it too easy. Water would be just as expensive as oil one day. Good of you to highlight this, but err, nak mandi 1 X sehari tak busyuk ke? 🙂

  2. Danse,

    You are correct in reminding everyone not to take clean pipe water for granted. We Malaysians had it good. It helps if the rakyat do not waste water. Use only what we need lah. It helps too that the government ensures efficient water treatment and distribution either by its own operations or privatized bodies. I read that in certain parts of Australia, clean (or untreated water) is so scarse that the city councils discourage its citizens to water gardens and wash cars. The day may come, if the situation turns from bad to worse, when it has to bar them from taking baths. Satu kali pun tak boleh! Pakai bedak aje be….

  3. Mat Salo,

    Double entendre alright! Since we are “progressing” like nobody’s business, tree-felling like nobody’s business, water catchment areas are decreasing, so of course clean water will become scarce.

    It costs so much more to treat water these days, especially raw water near urban areas. So an increase in water tariffs will be inevitable.


    u finally visited my site. Ok, i’ll compromise la. The day I know i’ll meet u, i’ll have a real good scrub…heheh!

    Daily Nibbler,

    thanks. u know, somewhere in the late 90s the Langat plant had to be shut down for a week or so, cos nearby factories had polluted its water catchment source. Can u imagine how much more it will cost to treat water if there were industrial effluents in it? So the Puncak Niaga folks later installed a Raw Water Monitoring System (an early warning mechanism) to ensure speedy damage control. Who do u think such cost will be passed towards? Eventually, us.

    BTW, why so militant la? Allow me to bath once a day at least…else u won’t gimme a hug when u meet me : )

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