Water supply designed for average-size family

I refer to Rozita Mat Aris' letter, "Not all in the penalty block are wasting water" (The Star, Aug 4)

I sympathize with Rozita who has to pay more for water consumed by her family of ten because more than half of the water consumed by her family is charged under the Penalty Block of the water tariff structure.

Per capita water consumption in this country is generally based on three categories, namely, urban, semi urban and rural. Also water demand in each residential area is based on the number and type of housing units set out in the housing structural plan.

Based on the above and on average, water supply to a household in an urban housing estate is designed for about five residents with a total water consumption of 35 cubic metres per month or 7 cubic meters per person.

In Rozita's case, a household of ten is big and is about double that allowed for in the design for water supply in any housing estate. Also, if each of Rozita's family is using 9 cubic meters per month, some conservation efforts are necessary.

In comparison, I have five adult members in my family with four cars and also have a Japanese-carp pond in my house. But my average household water consumption is less than 33 cubic meters per month or 6.5 cubic metres per head per month.

The water supply to each residential unit in Malaysia is governed by the water supply rules in each respective State. Generally, each residential unit i.e. a terrace house or a bungalow is connected to the public supply mains with a single service pipe and a meter.

So there is no way Rozita can have ten meters for her family of ten to avoid paying water charges under the Penalty Block.

However, to overcome Rozital's dilemma, we have to adopt the UK system of water charges where water usage in a residential unit is charged based on the number of faucets installed in the premises and not on the amount of water consumed.

But are we ready for this system?

This letter was published in The Star on August 9, 2006 under pseudonym: Ex- Water Engineer.

nakedeyeview.com.my 2007