OPERATORS of old folks’ homes and orphanages here have expressed concern over the state government’s plan to increase the water conservation surcharge for domestic use.
Several operators told the New Straits Times yesterday that the surcharge, if imposed, would place a heavy financial burden on them.
St Joseph’s Home supervisor Margaret Robert said the home was paying RM1,000 a month for water alone.
“That is a big amount and we are worried that if the water conservation surcharge is imposed, we will have to fork out more to pay our water bill.
“We do not have that much money as we are surviving on public donations and government funds,” she said yesterday.
Margaret said the home’s water bill could exceed RM1,500 if the water conservation surcharge was imposed.
“We have 44 children and several staff living in the home. Our water consumption is high because of bathing, cooking and washing of clothes,” she said.
Another orphanage operator near Jalan Mount Erskine here, who wished to be known as Joanne, said she was concerned about the proposed hike.
“We can ill-afford the additional cost if the surcharge comes into effect.
“We are a small home with nine children and I am running this home using my own money,” she said.
A spokesman for an old folks’ home in Jalan Babington here said the state government should reconsider its decision to impose the surcharge on domestic households.
“We are going to suffer as we use more than 35,000 litres of water a month.”
He said families with bedridden or elderly parents would also suffer as caring for them involved using a lot of water.
“You need to clean the sheets often and this will mean an increase in water consumption,” he added.
Penang Water Supply Corporation corporate communication spokesman Syarifah Nasywa Syed Feisal Barakbah told the New Straits Times yesterday that registered old folks’ homes and orphanages were paying the domestic water tariff.
“They will be exempted from the water conservation surcharge,” she said.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had reportedly said the state government planned to increase the water conservation surcharge from 48 sen to RM1 for each 1,000 litres for households that consumed more than 35,000 litres of water a month.
He had said the water conservation surcharge was a penalty imposed on those who wasted water or used water excessively.