Every household in Sarawak will enjoy free water for the first RM5 of the monthly domestic water bill, which is equivalent to about 11,300 litres of free water, says the state’s Ministry of Utilities.
In a statement, the ministry said the free water will take effect from Jan 1, 2020, as the Sarawak government will subsidise the costs of water and electricity supply for the people in its efforts to provide an equitable level of basic amenities to all households in Sarawak.
“This free water programme will help reduce the financial burden of the people, especially those in the low-income group (B40) who need the assistance most.
“It will benefit about 600,000 households with domestic accounts across Sarawak and will cost the Sarawak government about RM40 million per year,” it said.
The statement also stated that besides subsidising the cost of water supply, the Sarawak government will also be subsidising the cost of new electricity connections for low-income urban households.
“New connections costing up to RM5,000 will be provided free by the Sarawak government for such households.
“For new connections costing above RM5,000 up to RM10,000, the Sarawak government will subsidise 70 percent of the connection cost, while the remaining 30 percent will be borne by the applicant,” it added.
Meanwhile, at the same time, with effect from Jan 1, 2020, the tariff for abstraction, taking, drawing of raw water from any stream, river, water sources or subterranean sources, as stipulated in Part VII of the Fourth Schedule of the Water Supply Regulations 1995, will be increased from the current 1 sen per cubic metre to 2.5 sen per cubic metre.
“The tariff for taking or impounding of water from any river or stream for the generation of electricity or electrical energy as stipulated in Part VIII of the Fourth Schedule of the Water Supply Regulations 1995, will also be increased from the current 1 sen per kWh to 2.5 sen per kWh of electricity generated.
“The increases in the tariffs will only affect the utility service providers such as Kuching Water Board, Sibu Water Board, LAKU Management Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Energy Berhad. They will not affect the general public as there will be no change in both the electricity and water tariffs,” the statement said.