NSTletters Data show that every year, there is more energy used for water than the year before, and it is a big concern.
LETTERS: Data show that every year, there is more energy used for water than the year before, and it is a big concern. The work that is included in moving a cubic metre of freshwater is increasing because of increased pollution.Data show that every year, there is more energy used for water than the year before, and it is a big concern. January 20, 2020 @ 12:01am LETTERS: Data show that every year, there is more energy used for water than the year before, and it is a big concern. The work that is included in moving a cubic metre of freshwater is increasing because of increased pollution. And because of urbanisation, operators are required to source fresh water farther away. Electricity rates have been revised several times over the years, whereas water tariffs have remained stagnant in many states due to the reluctance of state governments to review them. This has contributed to rising costs of water production, pumping and distribution, and will become unsustainable in the near term for many states. Thirty to 40 per cent of operating costs for drinking water systems can be for energy. There are innovations that reduce this energy need and water operators have to incorporate energy-efficiency practices into their water and wastewater plants. Utilities can save 15 to 30 per cent, saving thousands of ringgit with payback periods of only a few months to a few years. All these initiatives require adequate funds, mainly from tariffs. Achieving financial sustainability requires that water utilities balance the books for the long term, securing revenue to recover system costs, buffer against unexpected circumstances, service debts and save for capital needs. Moreover, as the expectations and costs of managing water systems rise, the socioeconomic consequences of decisions are becoming more central in the search for sustainable options. Decision makers need to know of options and how they can be tailored to work in a local context. Water regulators in Malaysia and internationally acknowledge the need for an acceptable tariff setting mechanism. Presently, the sources of cost recovery for water services: REFLECT the true cost of providing the service and eliminate the need for subsidy and cross-subsidy as much as possible; TARIFFS should commensurate with the level and quality of service; ATTAIN economic sustainability for the service provider with agreed level of profitability; PAVE the way for readiness towards integration of water and sewerage services in line with the goals of the Water Services Industry Act 2006. The government has initiated water reform and restructuring in 2008 with the establishment of the National Water Services Commission (SPAN). One of its goals is to ensure water supply and sewerage services are restructured to ensure operational efficiencies and financial sustainability to meet consumers’ expectations. It is, however, observed that from a financial standpoint, the sustainable cost-recovery system via tariffs is the only pillar of reform that has not been completed by the regulator. Water reform is at a crossroads due to the delay in implementing a transparent tariff-setting mechanism. In summary, water and sewerage services in Malaysia are seen as a social service focusing on the provision of services. The new tariff structure should digress from this and continue to achieve economic sustainability by being a cost-recovery entity and viable over time. Tariffs should reflect the true cost of service commensurate with the operating risk level. The new tariff must balance the increasing operating costs. But the tariff rate is very low to sustain the operations to ensure public health is maintained. Cross subsidy from commercial may be applied to domestic to keep the domestic rate lower. A volumetric charge reflects the pay-per-use principle. Inclining block tariff should be used to discourage excessive or wasteful uses of water. Based on the perennial debates each time tariff revision is raised, the Malaysian Water Association (MWA) is of the view the issue of tariff revision can be summarised to the question of willingness to charge by the authorities as measured against the willingness to accept (or to pay) on the part of the consumers. In this regard, among other considerations, MWA proposed that the government should also address the issue of willingness to charge because on average, a household uses only one cubic meter of wateraday or less or 30 cubic metres a month. Compared with other utility bills, such as electricity, Unifi and Astro, which are higher. No tariff review does not mean it benefits consumers as it often leads to poor service levels, poor water quality, frequent breakdowns and water rationing. There is a need to conduct a study on willingness to accept apart from willingness to pay. Integration of water with sewerage services for a common bill. Introduce environmental tax as the benefits of clean water and sewerage contribute to the question of other sectors, especially tourism. The establishment of a Read more: New Straits Times
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