Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tales of water

Opinion 2009-12-08 11:53
My Sinchew

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said that in order to reduce business costs, the government may reduce electricity and water tariffs next year to safeguard the welfare of the industrial sector and consumers.

It is weird that just a few days ago, the Johor state government announced that water tariffs in Johor will be increased by 12% next year.

Even weird, water tariffs in Johor have already been the highest in the country and it is now heading towards the opposition direction and becomes more expensive.

According to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Johor, Sabah and Labuan are having the highest average domestic water tariff, which is 90 sen per cubic metre (m3). It is nearly two times as expensive as the average domestic water tariff (31 sen/m3) in Penang! As for the average industrial water tariff, Johor tops the list with RM2.93/m3, which is much more expensive than Selangor (RM1.91/m3) that ranked the second highest on the list. It is over two times as expensive as the average industrial water tariff in Sabah and Labuan (both 90 sen/m3)!

Don't forget that Johor also exports water. Its sells water to Singapore, as well as Malacca.

But in Malacca, both domestic and industrial water tariffs are (72 sen/m3 and RM1.40/m3 respectively) cheaper compared to Johor.

It is weird, isn't it?

x x x

Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once said: “Other policies have to kneel down in front of water.”

Putting ourselves in his shoes, we can understand Lee's feeling.

Singapore has to rely on water supply from Johor over the years. If they no longer renew the contract, Johor will stop supplying water to Singapore.

In fact, Singapore has long been ready. It has been looking for new water supply sources and doing researches and developments in water technology over the past 30 years.

In 2005, Singapore opened its first desalination plant to produce about 30 million gallons of water per day.

A greater achievement was made in 2002 when Singapore unveiled its NEWater to meet 35% of its water needs.

Hyflux Group and its founder Olivia Lum should be mentioned here when we are talking about NEWater.

Olivia Lum, Singapore's Queen of Water, who helped Singapore to get rid of “water crisis” used to be a Malaysian orphan but she is now a Singapore citizen.

It is surprising, isn't it?

x x x

In fact, we should review and reflect.

Scientists said that due to the impact of global warming, the Himalayan glaciers are gradually melting, causing 1.3 billion of Asian people to face a water crisis.

Perhaps we are still far from the end of the world but it may be our future to suffer a water crisis.

Don't let our tears to be the last drop of water! (By LIM MUN FAH/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

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