Water a necessity - shouldn't Govt bear cost for it? 

Forum writer Ng Chun Jin has not heard of many countries or cities that would raise water charges by so much.
Forum writer Ng Chun Jin has not heard of many countries or cities that would raise water charges by so much.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Government, by proposing a 30 per cent tax hike, clearly views water as an economic good rather than a basic necessity. This is a disconnect in principle that requires further examination.

The United Nations, on July 28, 2010, acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

If the essentiality of water is without question, should we expect any less than for our Government to provide it at any cost?

Consequently, the burden of the cost of supplying water then shifts to the Government. Herein lies the fundamental issue and principle.

The Government could build more desalination plants, balanced by a reduction in other fiscal expenditure that is considered less of a priority.

For instance, it could postponea road expansion project or the building of a new HDB estate, and use the monies to build more desalination plants.

It could manage the cost of operating these plants through other fiscal cost efficiencies or other measures. And there are surely many other ways.

I have not heard of many countries or cities that would raise water charges by so much.

What if the cost of water increases further? Are we going to slap another 50 per cent or 100 per cent tax hike?

The cost or value of water is best taught through education, not through dollars and cents.

Ng Chun Jin