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Review pricing of water to account for size of household

While it is unfortunate that the price of water is going up at a time when the economy is slowing down ("Price of water will go up to ensure sustainable supply"; Feb 8), the Government should be applauded for holding back water price increases for 17 years.

I hope that the various agencies will continue to work closely together and set themselves a target to see out the proposed new price for the next 17 years.

Meanwhile, I appeal for a review of the current multi-tier water tariffs for domestic users, that is, the average Singaporean family.

The Government encourages children to look after their elderly parents in their twilight years.

But the current pricing for water is terribly discouraging for large households, such as a three-generation family like mine. I look after my aged parents and a widowed elderly sister. I also have plans to invite my aged parents-in-law to live with us permanently.

The ideal and fairest method would be to base water consumption prices on the number of members in a household.

But water consumption is currently crudely priced on total consumption per household (notwithstanding the number of residents).

The ideal and fairest method would be to base water consumption prices on the number of members in a household. This number can be ascertained through the address on our identity cards.

With modern computing technology, such simple administration should not be too onerous.

Scrapping the multi-tier tariff system is another possible approach, since the intended increase in water price would encourage more frugal use.

A third option is to reduce the current spike in price at the upper tariff tier, when a certain usage amount is exceeded per month.

Good public policy instruments should not be so blunt as to render them efficient without being effective.

Sunny Goh (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 12, 2017, with the headline 'Review pricing of water to account for size of household '. Print Edition | Subscribe