Brunei's Water

Sometimes we take things for granted that we don't really know how to value it anymore. Yesterday, we were discussing about water usage in Brunei and how much we have to prepare in order to ensure that Bruneians have enough water and that we do not have water shortages. There is a huge cost involved and not to mention building any reservoirs or dams would also affect our environment. So it is not as straight forward as people think.

Our Minister was asking does anybody realise what our water tariffs really pay for nowadays. Our water tariffs is that for the first 54.54 cubic meter, you pay only 11 cents per cubic meter. And you know how much is 54.54 cubic meter? That is equivalent to 54,540 litres of water. Any you want to know how much that is? You take a small bottle of sehat water, the size you normally buy which is around 600 ml, 54,540 litres would fit into 90,900 of that sehat water bottle!

And for 90,900 bottles, you only pay 11 cents per cubic meter. 11 cents per 1,000 litres of water. And how much does a sehat water bottle cost in the supermarket? About $1 for 0.6 litres. Think about it. Despite having the cheapest water supply in the whole world, there are still people not paying their water bills. And because it is so cheap, people use water, like water.

We have a choice. We can continue to use water just like we use it today because it is so cheap and expect the government to continue to supply as much as we want at whatever cost. Or we can reduce it so that the supplies do not have to constantly keep up with demand. Or we can pay the right price for it. Thankfully we still have enough raw water to supply the country. But at sometime in the next 30 years or so, we have to start making hard choices as the easy water will get harder to get if we continue to use up our water, like, water.....


Anonymous said…
Hi Mr BR, I've been traveling for the past month and so much has happened - congrats on you SUT promotion, and it is wonderful to have a daily posting on BR again!
On water - I reflect on 2 things:

1. I am looking at installing a 'greywater' recycling facility to my laundry/bath in Sydney, as well as rainwater collection, that will give me a capacity of about 2000 litres, total captial cost will be around $5,000 which I'm prepared to pay. So the value of water in Australia is significantly higher compared to Brunei. Is there an opportunity for cost arbitrage here (like India IT people costs < USA IT people)?

2. I had a discussion almost exactly a year ago with some people in MIPR something along the lines of this ... Bottled French fizzy water here costs about $4 a litre, and we all know that Europe is covered with radioactive and other refuse from such high population density so its not exactly healthy. Why can't some enterprising people in Brunei bottle its water and sell in Europe/USA at $2 a litre, and use the 'green heart of borneo' to cross market for tourism, lifestyle, clothing etc???.... I'm an IT guy so not an expert in FMCG industry, but surely there is an opportunity here for Brunei?????

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