SINGAPORE: In 2000, it cost half a billion dollars to operate Singapore’s water system. But by 2015, the amount had gone up to S$1.3 billion, national water agency PUB said on Thursday (Feb 23).
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, a PUB spokesperson said that the amount includes water treatment, reservoir operations, NEWater production, desalination, used water collection and treatment, and the maintenance of the islandwide network of water pipelines.
In this year’s Budget statement, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that water prices would increase by 30 per cent in two phases over the next two years. This is the first time in 17 years that the Government is revising water prices.
In his speech, Mr Heng added that water prices need to reflect the rising costs associated with supplying water.
PUB said that this includes costs like chemicals, materials and manpower. As Singapore develops and operates its water supply system in an increasingly urbanised environment, more expensive methods of development are also needed, it added.
“For example, laying pipelines in built-up areas requires a more expensive method of pipe-jacking as compared to a conventional open cut method,” said PUB.
Furthermore, since the last water price revision in 2000, it has had to deal with rising resource costs and more expensive methods of development. Major investments were also made in water infrastructure.
PUB said it invested a total of about S$7 billion in water infrastructure from 2000 to 2015.
But in the next five years alone, from 2017 to 2021, its investment will be about S$4 billion.
“This is to meet growing demand and to boost the resilience of the water system, especially to face the challenges posed by climate change,” it said.