Malaysia’s Sewerage Tariff Is One Of The Lowest In The World
And yet we still enjoy efficient and effective sewerage services.
The sewerage tariff in Malaysia is one of the lowest in the world and has stayed the same since Indah Water Konsortium (IWK)’s inception in 1994
Indah Water Konsortium has around 6,700 Sewage Treatment Plants across Malaysia, providing sewerage services to 24.5 million users in 10 states and 3 Federal Territories. Over 5 billion litres of wastewater is treated daily by the utility operator.
IWK currently operates more than 19,000km of sewerage pipelines in Malaysia - that's the equivalent distance from KL to Lima, Peru!
For IWK, the struggle is real
Due to several factors such as population growth, urbanisation and economic development, IWK has to embrace newer and more modern technology, facilities, assets, and skilled manpower to meet the increasing demand for efficient and effective sewerage services.
Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate, RM8 as of the end of 1994 is worth RM14.38 as of December 2017. That gives us a pretty good idea of how operational and maintenance costs have increased for all businesses including IWK.
However, whereas other companies have increased the prices of their products and services, IWK tariff has remained the same since 1994.
Currently the operational cost to treat one household per month is estimated to be around RM20, but the tariff is only RM2 to RM8 a month.
For years, IWK relies heavily on government subsidies, and has received an accumulative subsidy of RM2.41 billion since 2001. As we Malaysians are poised to rebuild the nation, IWK feels hopeful for a more dynamic sewerage industry where the people can continue with convenience and clean environment; whilst IWK to be more financially sustainable.
This way, IWK will also be better equipped to explore and optimise the potentials beyond wastewater treament while ensuring that our taps will not run dry.
So, why are sewerage services so important?
Sewerage services protect public health by significantly reducing risks of water-borne diseases and hygiene-related diseases. It also helps sustain the environment by ensuring wastewater is treated, removing bad bacteria and toxic compounds, before returning it to the water cycle.
In addition to that, IWK supports the nation's economic growth as sewerage treatment is a requirement for potential investors. The company also provides employment opportunities, with approximately 3,500 staff all over the country.
During water supply shortages, IWK is able to fulfill water demands by using treated wastewater for industrial, landscaping, and irrigation purposes. So that we will not run out of clean water supply for our daily consumptions.
And of course, sewerage treatment provides convenience and a higher quality of life for the rakyat overall. Imagine having to use outhouses when we need to do our ‘business’.
Tbh, if you didn't know about the services provided by Indah Water, you're not alone
Despite being one of the most important services to benefit the community, many are still unaware of what the utility provider actually does.
As a result of this, IWK has struggled to collect payments from customers in the past. Here are the reasons why:
1. Unlike other utility operators, IWK is unable to disconnect sewerage services of non-paying customers.
2. As sewerage pipelines are underground and out of sight, IWK believes that many members of the public simply are not aware of the amount of work the company puts in to cleaning high volumes of wastewater that they produce daily.
3. Finally, providing sewerage services is a social responsibility that IWK takes very seriously. They work to protect public health and preserve the environment, however IWK also needs to be financially sustainable in order to continue their services.
To the hardworking men and women of Indah Water Konsortium, we thank you for everything you do!
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