THE National Water Service Commission (SPAN) will begin operating under the provisions of the Water Service Industry Act from Jan 1.
It is our hope that SPAN will enhance the water service industry to provide a world-class service.
Consumers expect nothing less than clean, affordable and continuous water supply.
The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations hopes that through SPAN, we can achieve the following:
- Affordable water tariffs: We do realise that the increase in pollution of rivers has increased operational costs, which will eventually burden the consumers. An affordable tariff rate should be in place to cater for the needs of low-income and medium-income groups. At the same time, the tariffs should also reflect a fair rate for sustainable water consumers (those who consume less water).
- Safe and reliable water supply: Water supplied to homes must be safe and of reliable quality, according to national and international standards. Continuous water supply must be available. We do hope water cuts, when bills are unpaid, can be avoided. In the case of a water cut, the re-connection of water supply must be done within 24 hours of payment.
- Clear policy and transparent implementation: To ensure a sustainable water industry, a clear development policy must be formulated. The policy must address the affordability of water to low-income and middle-income groups. We also hope that transparency within the industry will ensure consumers' rights are protected.
- An integrated water resources management: This is being developed in stages, and it is important to include stakeholders in the process as well. Consumers must be educated and given responsibilities in the management of water resources.
- Consumers must avail themselves of alternative sources: As consumers, we should opt for other sources of water which can be used for non-potable purposes. Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged to reduce treated-water consumption in toilet flushing, washing drains and other non-potable usage. Development of cheap and affordable rainwater harvesting system must also be done.
- Conservation of water must be encouraged: Water-wasting activities must be reduced. This can be done through continuous consumer education.
- Non-revenue water must be reduced: In some of the states, such water is the biggest cause of loss in income to the water supply industry. If this can be reduced, a more cost-effective water service can be implemented.
We wish SPAN and its officers a good start.