Water tariff adjustment needed to ensure better water services, says experts

KUALA LUMPUR: The water tariff adjustment for domestic categories, which will take effect on Feb 1, needs to be carried out to ensure the sustainability of water services in the long term while simultaneously offering greater satisfaction to the public concerning the quality of treated water supply services.

Water and Energy Research Malaysia Association(Awer) president, S. Piarapakaran, said that with the announcement of the new water tariff adjustment for domestic users in Peninsular Malaysia and the Labuan Federal Territory by the National Water Services Commission (Span) on Wednesday (Jan 17), water operators will be more prepared to make continuous investments in developing their water respective supply system infrastructure, such as building or upgrading water treatment plants and replacing old pipes.

"The water tariff adjustment is not being done to give the operators a chance to reap profits, but it is implemented because most of the water tariffs are set by state water operators, and some have not been reviewed for a long time.

"It also shows that the cost of water supply is an important aspect to enable water operators to improve their services in providing undisrupted quality water supply," he said when contacted by Bernama on Wednesday.

According to Span, the water tariff adjustment will see an average increase of 22 sen per cubic metre, or a bill charge increase of RM1.60 to RM8 for each residence or five to 27 cents per day for a household usage of 20 cubic meters per month.

It is implemented under the Tariff Setting Mechanism (TSM), where the tariff structure and components are standardised for states on the peninsula and Labuan. It will be reviewed every three years to ensure consistency in determining fees.

It will affect about 6.9 million domestic category users or represents 86.6 per cent out of 7.9 million account holders.

When asked about the appropriateness of revising the water tariff every three years, Piarapakaran said that the setting of this review period is regulatory to compel water operators to be more efficient in continuously providing high-quality water services while protecting consumers' rights.

"So, in three years, we will review the tariff again so that the operators don't take too much profit, and after several cycles of tariff setting, we will move to a five-year tariff adjustment," he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Water Association (MWA) president Dr Mohmad Asari Daud, in a statement, also expressed support for Span's decision and highlighted the importance of regular tariff reviews, citing the escalating costs of water treatment and distribution.

He noted that data from the Malaysia Statistics Department corroborate these increasing costs, and notably, some service providers, such as Pengurusan Air Pahang, have not revised their domestic water tariffs for 40 years.

"MWA believes that revising domestic water tariffs will motivate water service providers to improve their customer service. With these changes, MWA anticipates enhancements in the water supply system and relief to the water ecosystem, which has been facing significant challenges for some time," he said. – Bernama

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Water Tariff Adjustment , SPAN , Piarapakaran , AWER , TSM , MWA


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