Soften the impact of water price rise

The rationale behind the 30 per cent increase in the price of water in the Budget statement is understandable, but more can be done to soften the impact of the rise ("Price hike to secure future supply"; Feb 21).

There should be rewards for those who go all the way to cut down on household water usage, and incentives for others to work towards doing the same.

Perhaps a four-tier water pricing system could be worked out.

The first tier is for those who fall below or meet the maximum amount of water allowed for a family of four. Those in this tier need not face a price increase.

The subsequent tiers are for those who use progressively more water. The second tier will face a 30 per cent price increase, third tier 60 per cent and the last tier 100 per cent.

For those who are well to do, the 30 per cent increase is nothing, and it is unlikely that they will cut down on their water usage.

But for the lower-income group, especially those not living in HDB flats, who are jobless or retired, and who do not qualify for subsidies and cash grants, the increase comes at a time when they are faced with a poor economic and job outlook, high food prices and inflation.

With the water price increase and diesel tax, there is also a need for government agencies to monitor and come down hard on those who take the opportunity to increase their prices.

Hawkers, restaurants, coffee shops, and private and public transport agencies are a few of the likely culprits.The saying that "what goes up will come down" does not seem to hold true for businesses.

It is hoped that the Government will do more to help residents work towards a common objective for the betterment of Singapore.

Ronnie Lim Ah Bee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline 'Soften the impact of water price rise'. Subscribe