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Govt will not raise water prices this year

SINGAPORE — The Government will not be raising water prices this year, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, as Parliament yesterday debated the ministry’s spending plans.

SINGAPORE — The Government will not be raising water prices this year, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, as Parliament yesterday debated the ministry’s spending plans.

He, however, stressed that water needs to be “correctly priced to reflect its scarcity value”, while facilitating various long-term investments in the sector.

“The key variable in the future for the cost of water is the cost of energy, so I cannot predict what the future cost of water will be without knowing what the cost of energy will be,” Dr Balakrishnan added.

Still, he assured Member of Parliament (MP) Yeo Guat Kwang (Ang Mo Kio GRC) that an increase in water prices is not necessary “on our current trajectory”.

Dr Balakrishnan also addressed Nominated MP Faizah Jamal’s concerns on the sustainability of the Republic’s water supply with a projected population increase.

He said: “We are in a secure position. I can give assurance to this House we will certainly be water-independent well before the expiry of the last agreement with Malaysia. I can even go further than that and assure Ms Faizah Jamal that … water is not going to be the limiting factor.

“You can produce as many babies … build as many houses as you like ... we can continue to produce more than enough water for Singapore for the long-term future.”

A second desalination plant in Tuas — which will produce another 70 million gallons of water per day — will be ready in July this year, Dr Balakrishnan said.

To meet Singapore’s long-term needs for the collection, treatment and disposal of used water, he also announced that Phase Two of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System — “a superhighway for used water” — will be commencing to serve the western part of the island.

“It will drain water from the western part of the island to a NEWater reclamation plant in Tuas, which will also produce NEWater in the future,” Dr Balakrishnan said. WOO SIAN BOON

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