Water tariff review needed for better quality

Operators need to educate the public on the enhanced water quality that comes with the rate hike

WATER tariff review is needed to improve the quality of water in several states which has not seen a review in the rates for nearly four decades.

Persatuan Wira Air communications bureau Fatin Fariza Abdul Halim said operators need to educate the public on the enhanced water quality that comes with the rate hike, especially to several quarters that would disagree with the move.

“We need to tell consumers that we can improve the overall water quality if we implement a tariff revision. The people would expect better water quality and therefore the operators need to manage their expectations once the tariff is reviewed.

“The operators need to tell them that with better water tariff, it would lessen the financial burden faced by the operators and they can channel the funds to improve several assets,” she said in a webinar organised by the Ministry of Water and Environment, National Water Services Commission and the Malaysian Water Association yesterday.

Pahang had maintained the same water tariff since 1983 followed by Perlis (1996) and Terengganu (1997). Perak and Selangor last reviewed its water tariff in 2006 while Kedah and Kelantan had a revision in 2010 and 2013. Penang, Labuan and Johor are the latest to have their water tariff reviewed which were all done in 2015.

Fatin Fariza said it is possible for consumers to accept a higher tariff now since there had never been regular revisions on the rates.

“If there had always been a revision on the water tariff, consumers may reject the idea of another revision since they have set a quality benchmark with each rate hike.

“However, it has been long since the tariff in the states have been reviewed, especially in Pahang, so it is possible that the level of acceptance by consumers will be high. They would also know that if they close the gap between the operational cost and the charges imposed on consumers, they are able to get better quality water,” she added.

Air Selangor Sdn Bhd CEO Suhaimi Kamaralzaman said the operational cost borne by Air Selangor is double the cost incurred to users.

On average, Suhaimi noted consumers pay RM1.50 per cu m for water.

“The amount paid by consumers for the water provided by Air Selangor and other operators is not proportionate to the amount needed by operators to treat the water,” he said.

There are several steps involved in providing quality water to end users, said Suhaimi, among which include the extraction of water from rivers followed by its treatment before it is delivered via respective pipes for utilisation.

He added most of the treated water needs to be stored in reservoirs, which induces more operational costs for operators mainly for the pumping process before it is delivered to users.

“The cost is high along the chain but despite the high cost, the tariff is still low. Sometimes users take advantage of the low tariff and use the water without control.

“The water usage in Selangor currently stands at 260 litres per capita, per day, which is high compared to Singapore at only 160 litres per capita, per day,” he said.

He added Air Selangor is raising awareness via its social media to encourage users to be mindful and avoid water wastage.

The Malaysian Reserve


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