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Debating the real cost of drinking water

19 Feb 2017

Singapore’s decision to raise water prices after 17 years is to be applauded. Studies show that pricing can affect behaviour, and there is strong evidence to suggest that under-priced or free water leads to very inefficient uses of water, including increased wastage.

Take the case of Doha, the capital of Qatar, where water is free. The average daily water consumption of residents is 1,200 litres.

In Singapore, domestic water consumption per capita is 151 litres, which is still relatively on the high side. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, humans need a minimum of two litres of drinking water per day to survive.

Asit K. Biswas is the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Cecilia Tortajada is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

This article was first published on Today on 20th February 2017.

Cecilia Tortajada

Cecilia Tortajada

senior research fellow at the Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Asit K Biswas

Asit K Biswas

Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. National University of Singapore, Singapore