GEORGE TOWN: Penangites will be asked to pay more for their water soon as a means to curb rising demand, especially in light of the prolonged drought, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said the move was necessary as the soft approach of educating people to reduce water consumption had failed, adding that the last tariff revision was 23 years ago.
“The hike in the tariff is inevitable, but I cannot disclose when the hike will take place as studies, which will take not more than a year, need to be done,” he said yesterday.
Lim gave an assurance that even with the hike, Penang’s water tariff would remain the cheapest in the country.
He said the Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) had asked permission to study the water tariff and the state government had agreed.
Lim revealed that PBAPP had submitted a few business models for the state’s consideration.
“The models need to be submitted to the state exco for approval before being submitted to the National Water Services Commission, which has the final say,” he said.
Lim added that water consumption in Penang was currently the highest in the country – at 295 litres per person per day last year, followed by Perlis (241 litres), Labuan (240 litres) and Perak (238 litres).
For the first two months of this year, Penang’s figure increased to 311.
“The United Nations’ recommendation for domestic water consumption is 100 litres per person per day. In Singapore, the figure is 151.”
Meanwhile, Lim said water rationing would not be implemented in Penang this month because of PBAPP’s efficient supply management.
“If April proves to be another dry month, the state and PBAPP will implement a contingency action plan to avoid water rationing,” said Lim, adding that there were also plans to ask the Federal Government to initiate cloud seeding over the Sungai Muda Dam catchment area.
He said that as of yesterday, there was enough water at the Teluk Bahang Dam for 233 days, Air Itam Dam for 63 days and Mengkuang Dam for 64 days.
Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris Atan said the hike was timely and long overdue.
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