This is another excellent example of how Singapore tackled its problems in its uniquely Singaporean way. Another classic case study for the top management schools around the world.
Singapore with its limited land has a perennial water shortage problem and has to import water from Malaysia. It was never to be self sufficient in water. But this was a major challenge it faced and it was pushed to a corner when the sale of water was used as a hostage by Malaysia to make life very difficult and may even derail its development plans. Singapore is now self sufficient in water by maximizing its water catchment area, reservoirs and technology in water treatment, and the rest is history.
Many people forgot that other than the above, there is another element contributing to the success in water management. We may have enough water, but enough is relative. If the people carelessly misuse this precious resource, we will need more reservoirs and never provide enough water for the island. And there is the economic growth factor that would continue to raise the demand for water.
Here is the brilliant solution. Impresse and educate the people on the importance of water and water conservation. Water is a precious item and should not be wasted by careless and inconsiderate usage. But all these are talks and would only be partially effective on people who are already conscious and responsible. The irresponsible and reckless tiada apa type will continue to waste water no matter how often they are told not to do so. Yes, the solution is to hurt them where it hurts most. Tax on their pockets.
There is a surtax charged on the use of water in addition to the high fees and other taxes. This Water Conservation Tax stands at 30-45% of water used. The reckless and irresponsible can waste water at their convenience, but their pockets will be hurt and emptied by 30-45% more. The additional tax is to teach the people the importance of water conservation.
This is so brilliant that it solved the water management problem and adds into the public coffer. Another brilliant Singapore solution to be taught in Schools of Public Administration. Make them pay and they will heel.
The same theory can be applied to other goods. The high rate of changing mobile phones, and many in good working order is a big waste on natural resources. If govt is serious in conservation of mother earth, they can apply the same principle to prevent wastage of mobile phones. Make additional purchase of mobile phones be subject to 30% tax. Similarly there should be a Car Conservation Tax for anyone buying more than one car. And Petrol Conservation Tax, ….