You can lead a horse to water...
Save water or face hikes, Malaysians told
Aug 02, 2006
The Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR - THE Malaysian government has warned consumers that if they do not conserve water, it will be forced to raise the water tariff.
Energy, Water and Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik cited depleting resources and rising costs for treatment and distribution as factors.
'At the rate water is being wasted, in two years the supply of water in Selangor will not be sufficient. We may have to import water from Pahang,' Datuk Seri Dr Lim said…
A National Water Conservation Campaign was launched to reduce domestic consumption by 10 per cent over the next two years in a country where, according to Datuk Seri Dr Lim, people use water 'as if there is no tomorrow'.
In Malaysia, at least 300 litres of water are used per person per day, and in urban areas the usage is even higher at about 500 litres, compared with the recommended basic water need of 50 litres.
The main reason for the high usage, especially in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, is that water comes cheap. (my emphasis)
An average family in the main towns pays around RM30 per month - and this is even lower in rural areas where privatised service providers are absent.
The government campaign will also study water consumption patterns to understand limitations in conservation and to act on the most wasteful activities.
Minister Lim Keng Yaik should save Malaysian tax ringgit by foregoing the government campaign and buying an intro economics textbook. Maybe his opportunity cost of reading a textbook is high so I will just tell him what the problem is: The price of water is too low right now, and government threats will not change that. The price of water does not reflect its scarcity. When the price is too low, there is no incentive to conserve it. Raise the price and water will be used more efficiently.