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Price of water should reflect the cost of production

Electricity appears to be the largest cost component in producing potable water ("How Singapore will never go thirsty"; July 10). It costs about 62 cents at current prices to desalinate each cubic metre of potable water, 18 cents to process Newater, and even less to treat rainwater.

These costs are expected to drop in future as new and better means of desalinating seawater and reclaiming wastewater are found. But Singapore residents currently pay about 117 cents per cubic metre for potable water. They also pay a waterborne fee of 28 cents per cubic metre.

If the waterborne fee is levied to discourage excessive consumption, then the price of water should be set reasonably, to reflect the true cost of production. Otherwise, it will only be adding to the already high cost of living and doing business in Singapore.

Steven Lo Chock Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 24, 2016, with the headline 'Price of water should reflect the cost of production'. Print Edition | Subscribe