Friday, February 04, 2005

'Tap water should be free of charge'

Source: The Jakarta Post

The tap water rate increase that took effect on Jan. 20 was one of the automatic increases that will take place every six months for the next five years. The city administration says the money collected from the increase will be used to pay an outstanding debt of Rp 938 billion (US$105 million) to its foreign water company partners. The Jakarta Post ask residents for their opinion on the issue.

Arief, 33, is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Indonesia. He lives in Kalibata, South Jakarta:

The impact of the water rate hike? It depends on who's using it. Most of the users are low-income families who already are suffering from the recent fuel and gas price hike.

Jakartans are mostly businesspeople, ranging from street vendors to tycoons, who use large amounts of water.

People can understand an increase in fuel and gas prices, but water is supposed to be subsidized by the government. The government should provide water for free because it is a public resource.

We can hope that the increase will improve service because I have had only turbid water the last few days.

Meutya, 34, is a wife and mother of two children. She lives in Jatinegara Baru, East Jakarta:

It's awful to have another rate increase. How come the city administration doesn't have the decency to lighten the burden on the people?

I can only appeal, please, no more increases in public utility rates. It's already hard for us to put food on the table with the fuel and gas price hike. I would be thankful if the government would provide free water, like in the U.S.

I will have to be more thrifty. For drinking water we can use mineral water, but for washing the dishes and clothes, well, that will be difficult.

Why don't they just cut the salaries of the city councillors or take the money from the rich to subsidize the water rates. I hope my children won't have to face these kinds of burdens in the future.