Budget debate

See water price hike in perspective, says PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he hoped the public debate reminded Singaporeans of the value of water.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he hoped the public debate reminded Singaporeans of the value of water.PHOTO: ST FILE

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joined the discussion on the water price hike with a Facebook post yesterday, saying he hoped the debate in Parliament on the issue will remind Singaporeans of the value of water:

"The water price increase has triggered sharp reactions from Singaporeans. Two ministers - Chan Chun Sing and Masagos Zulkifli - spoke about this in Parliament yesterday(Wednesday). They explained why water is an existential issue for Singapore, and why this price increase is unavoidable.

Singapore is an island, yet we are one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. We have enough water today only because of our unremitting efforts since independence. For us, water will always be a strategic resource, and a matter of national security. The Pioneer Generation knew this. So do the generations of servicemen and women who have defended Singapore.

In this situation, we have to price water properly. Then every time we turn on the tap, we are conscious of how precious each drop is. We last revised water prices in 1997 - a long time ago. Since then, we have developed Newater. We have also invested in desalination, which is cheaper than before but still expensive. We need to build more Newater and desalination plants. That is why the cost of producing water has gone up, and tariffs must rise.

 

We should see the 30 per cent increase in perspective. Many households will get additional U-Save rebates. So one- and two-room HDB households will not see any nett increase at all. For most other HDB flats, the nett increase will only be between $2 and $11 per month. For three-quarters of businesses, water bills will go up by less than a $1 per day ($25 per month). Minister Masagos shared these in his speech.

I hope this public debate reminds us how important and valuable water is, and how we can all help to conserve water, so that we always have enough water in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2017, with the headline 'See water price hike in perspective, says PM Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe