SINGAPORE: Following sharp reactions from Singaporeans, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said people should look at the increase in water prices "in perspective".
In a Facebook post on Thursday (Mar 2), PM Lee said tariffs must rise as the cost of producing water has increased.
"We have also invested in desalination, which is cheaper than before but still expensive. We need to build more NEWater and desalination plants," he said.
He reiterated that the Government last revised water prices in 1997, before developing NEWater.
"Many households will get additional U-Save rebates. So 1- and 2-room HDB households will not see any nett increase at all. For most other HDB flats, the nett increase will only be between S$2 to S$11 per month. For three quarters of businesses, water bills will go up by less than a S$1 per day (S$25 per month)," Mr Lee said.
Mr Lee also highlighted that Singapore is "one of the most water-stressed countries in the world" even though it is an island.
"We have enough water today only because of our unremitting efforts since independence. For us, water will always be a strategic resource, and a matter of national security," he said.
Mr Lee added that in this situation, there is a need to "price water properly". "Then every time we turn on the tap, we are conscious of how precious each drop is," he said.
"I hope this public debate reminds us how important and valuable water is, and how we can all help to conserve water, so that we always have enough water in Singapore," PM Lee added.