30% increase in Singapore tap water?

February 22, 2017

If increasing tap water by 30% over a two year period spurs home grown technologies in desalination of sea water, water treatment and management. Then I think it’s a very small price to pay. As one day these local firms will build core competence in this field and eventually hire more natives. As this know how can also be exported to other countries that face this problem perennially. Such a business model will also create a solid base of SME’s that can supply parts to local big water treatment firms.

In the long run these SME’s who specialise in this new field of water treatment will also be able to develop home grown products which they can commoditize in the form of intellectual capital and sell it to other water treatment firms abroad as well. Thus creating more jobs and opportunities for natives.

This is because at the sheer speed man is destroying the planet – clean water can only be increasingly challenging for many countries to reliably supply to users.

But if it is just a blanket 30% increase that just goes straight into the piggy bank of the government – then let us be very clear and call a spade a spade like a farmer – it’s just another form of consumption tax. Then it’s no good. As since it’s not plough back into developing water based industries. Then further increases will likely take place in the future. As government being government will always be addicted to the narcotic of tax revenue in one form or another.

Alternatively if the goal is to conserve precious water because water levels in the Linggui dam are at a precariously low level – and that is understandable given the freakish weather we have been experiencing for the last two years – coupled to the fact, in a land scarce city state like Singapore that has very limited water catchment areas.

If it is an issue of only cost.

Then a better alternative would be to treat water like a commodity such as gas or oil where the rate varies according to amount of precipitation and water capacity holding rates along with usage. Go up even fifty percent if it runs that dry – it would hardly matter to the bottom line of most families or even businesses – as since the cumulative cost of water can be sensibly averaged thru the course of one calendar year – that formula would be significantly less disruptive than an arbitrary rise of 30%. With modern computing software that comes with billings – this is hardly problematic to implement in Singapore.

After all it’s reasonable and intelligent to assume not every year can possibly be a bone dry scorching El Niño dry year. Not every year can the Linggui dam be in the danger zone. Neither does the water Singapore gets from Malaysia require extensive treatment like in Denmark where most of the water are from underground catchment areas that requires advanced treatment before it can be consumed straight from the tap.

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‘What do I know? I am just a farmer. But I do know this. Price hikes especially in these stressful times. When so many people are rightly anxious about their future and tightening their belts to the very last notch must make sense.

If for any reason the dots don’t connect to make sense – then even simpletons like even straw hat wearing farmers like myself will begin to scratch their head and wonder what’s happening here?

It has to make sense. Otherwise it’s no good.’

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