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Singapore household water prices to rise 18pc by April 2025, help on the cards for low- and middle-income groups

Singapore household water prices to rise 18pc by April 2025, help on the cards for low- and middle-income groups

Water prices will rise by a total of 18.2 per cent in two phases over two years starting from April 1 next year. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 28 — Water prices will rise by a total of 18.2 per cent in two phases over two years starting from April 1 next year. It's the first increase since 2017, with financial help for low- and middle-income groups to be announced on today, the Government said.

This increase is 50 cents per cubic metre (1,000 litres) of water, the national water agency PUB and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

They said that three-quarters of households here would see an increase of under S$10 (RM34.31) per month in their water bills by the time the full hike kicks in from April 2025.

This is before accounting for government support, they added.

Similarly, about three in four businesses here — including small- and medium-sized enterprises — will see an increase of less than S$25 in their monthly water bills, PUB and MSE said.

The price hike is necessary to meet the “substantially” higher cost of producing and supplying water, they said.

It is also needed to maintain long-term investments to fulfil water demand that is projected to double by 2065 as a result of economic and population growth.

“The Government will provide additional financial support to help mitigate the impact of the water price increase and other cost of living concerns, especially for lower- and middle-income households,” they said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is set to announce a slew of additional cost of living support measures for Singaporean households today, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Why it matters

The announcement of the hike in water prices comes amid a rise in the cost of other essential services.

In its latest price revision in June, electricity firm SP Group announced that the electricity tariff will increase by an average of 1.2 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, public transport fares are set to go up by 7 per cent or between 10 and 11 cents in December this year.

At the time of the last water increase in 2017, the hike was 30 per cent, translating to a jump of S$9 to S$15 more a month in water bills for those living in public housing.

The 18 per cent hike announced on Wednesday represents an increase of about 2.5 per cent a year since the last price revision six years ago.

Globally, the average total water bill has gone up by an average of 8.2 per cent from July 2022 to 2023, according to a recent survey by Global Water Intelligence.

Global Water Intelligence, a leading publisher for the international water industry, noted that this jump was the second highest it had ever recorded, reflecting soaring global inflation that has pushed up operational costs for providing utilities.

Details of price increase

The price increase will be implemented in two stages:

• Water charges will be raised by 20 cents per cubic metre from April 1, 2024, from the current S$2.74 per cubic metre to S$2.94

• A further increase of 30 cents per cubic metre will be rolled out on April 1, 2025, raising the price to S$3.24

This pricing applies to households that use 40 cubic metres of water or less per month, which covers more than 96 per cent of households here.

Water usage above 40 cubic metres is currently priced at S$3.69 per cubic metre.

• From April next year, this will be raised by 25 cents to S$3.94 per cubic metre

• It will be increased by another 45 cents the following year to S$4.39 per cubic metre

One- and two-room public flats will see an average increase of S$4 per month in their water bill, while other Housing and Development Board (HDB) households will see an average rise of between S$6 and S$9 per month.

Private apartment households will see an average increase of S$7 a month.

Three-quarters of businesses here will see an increase of less than S$25 a month in their water bills.

Three in four hawkers will incur an increase of less than S$15 a month, PUB and MSE said.

Existing and upcoming support

Eligible households can tap the Climate Friendly Households Programme to subsidise the cost of installing water efficient fittings, which can help bring down their water bills.

"In the coming year, there will be enhancements to extend the programme to more water fittings to support water savings," PUB and MSE said.

Businesses can tap PUB’s recently enhanced Water Efficiency Fund to help reduce their water consumption through the installation of water-efficient and water-recycling systems.

PUB will work with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and relevant agencies to advise businesses against profiteering.

In response to media queries, PUB pointed out that for most businesses, including food and beverage and retail, utilities bills — which include electricity, gas and water — constitute less than 5 per cent of business costs.

A 50 cent increase for one cubic metre of water would translate to an increase of 0.05 cents per litre, or roughly 0.01 cent per cup of coffee, it added. — TODAY