New process for HDB water issues ensures smooth flow of action

When Housing Board residents face an issue related to their water supply, they might not know who to contact. Some water issues fall under the purview of the national water agency PUB, while others are to be resolved by the respective town councils (TCs).

As a result, time could be wasted in redirecting the feedback to the right agency and getting the problems resolved.

Under a recently implemented protocol for handling feedback, however, cases are immediately directed to the correct agency, saving time and effort.

Since April, more than 1,600 cases have been handled under this speedier first-responder protocol.

Previously, the first agency to receive feedback would attend to it and conduct a site investigation if required. If the issue was not under its purview, it would be handed to the correct agency and a second inspection would have to be carried out.

"Recognising this inconvenience to residents and the potential wastage in manpower to attend to the case, the Municipal Services Office, PUB and the TCs agreed on a first-responder protocol," a PUB spokesman told The Straits Times.

Now, all water issues are immediately directed to the respective agency in charge.

For instance, town councils are the first responder for issues such as water leaks in housing estates, while the PUB is the first responder for poor water pressure due to its water distribution network supply, meter issues and leaks on roads.

The new system was tested for three months from August last year in Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council and Jurong-Clementi Town Council. It was extended to all town councils in April.

Minor leaks in HDB blocks and low water pressure accounted for 63 per cent of all feedback handled under this new protocol. Said the PUB: "Residents' feedback on water supply issues are... resolved more promptly and effectively."

Residents do not have to know which agency is in charge of what. Their feedback will be immediately directed to the right place.

Last month, for example, a Jurong East HDB resident noticed water leaking from the roof of her block and called the PUB.

However, the problem was not under the PUB's purview. The national water agency immediately referred it to the Jurong-Clementi Town Council which sent its plumbers to repair the leak. In less than an hour after the resident called, the leak was repaired.

In June, a resident of an HDB shophouse in Veerasamy Road found a leak near the water meter outside her unit and called the Jalan Besar Town Council to report it.

As the location of the leak made it a PUB issue, the town council officer immediately referred the case to PUB without an initial investigation. The PUB responded and repaired the leak.

From the resident's call to the leak being repaired, the whole process took just two hours.

"This quick resolution could not be possible before this protocol as there would have been an initial site investigation by the town council upon receiving the case, which would take some time and also inconvenience the resident," said the PUB spokesman.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline 'New process for HDB water issues ensures smooth flow of action'. Print Edition | Subscribe