SHAH ALAM: The Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry is hoping the discussions on new water tariffs with various states will be concluded by the end of this year.
Its minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar (pic) said discussions on water tariffs were being held with all the states and the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).
"The states must cooperate with the ministry to ensure that water supply is enough and (there are) no disruptions to the service," he told reporters after officiating at the Science Fair for Young Children Champions League Programme here on Saturday (March 30).
Dr Xavier said this after he was asked to comment on Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari's statement that Selangor disagreed with a proposal to hike water tariffs in the state by almost 50%.
"We haven't set the tariffs yet. We will discuss some more.
"We will see what we can do so that the people are not burdened, but at the same time, the water industry has to move forward," said Dr Xavier.
He said the government was ready to spend money to ensure that there was enough water supply.
Asked if there was resistance to tariff hikes, Dr Xavier said this was expected.
"We must remember, at the same time, that water tariffs have not been increased for the past 20 years.
"We are paying the infrastructure costs that is being stipulated by the market at the present. There is going to be a lot of money spent and we are willing to spend it," he said.
He added that states have to understand that money has to be spent to ensure there is no water disruption in the future.
Dr Xavier added that they wanted to change the way the water companies did business so they were lean, clean and independent.
The science fair he officiated is held annually among Tamil schools to encourage the science education among schoolchildren.
A total of 39 teams took part in the event this year.
A team from SJK(T) Puchong won the first prize for their "Vege Djack Nuggets" project, while SJK(T) Taman Tun Aminah came in second for their banana fibre roof while SJK(T) Ladang Wellesley won the third prize for a home-made biodiesel processor.