GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s water rates remain the cheapest in the country, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today despite interest groups demanding that they be increased by two or three times.
He said NGOs such as the Consumers’ Association of Penang and Water Watch had asked the state government to increase the water tariffs to deter water wasters.
Penangites used the highest volume of water at 286 litres/capita/day (l/c/d) last year, compared with the national average of 209 l/c/d.
Comparatively, Singapore recorded 152 l/c/d in the same year. The United Nations recommendation is 148 l/c/d.
“The NGOs have sounded us saying nine years’ of efforts to get people to save water have not worked.
“Despite that, I feel raising water prices is not the right move. Hence, we’ve only imposed surcharges on those who waste water,” Lim said at a press conference in Komtar.
It was previously announced that a surcharge of RM1 will be imposed on every 1,000 litres after usage of water reaches 35,000 litres.
The surcharge, called the Water Conservation Surcharge, was previously 48 sen for every 1,000 litres of water used after total water use hits 35,000 litres.
According to the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA), the surcharge is applicable to 25% of the 504,400 domestic users, which comes up to about 126,000 users.
Lim said PBA was now trying to ascertain if the domestic accounts were indeed for home use or if they were being used for businesses such as eateries or car wash outlets.
This may explain the high volume of water used for domestic use.