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Bruneians unfazed over high water wastage
Publication Date : 14-10-2013
Despite using more water than most people in Southeast Asia, some Bruneians said they are reluctant to save water and reduce the number of showers a day.
"We have to shower a couple of times every day," said a Belait resident, blaming the hot and humid Brunei climate. The 24-year-old female, who wished to remain anonymous, indicated that a significant amount of water in her household is used for bathing.
Previous reports stated that Bruneians use an average of 200 litres for bathing, while Singaporeans use 52 litres for taking showers and flushing the toilet.
"I'm sure people are aware of the need to save water, yet we still keep the tap running when we brush our teeth. We simply don't feel the pinch," she added.
Similar to others interviewed by The Brunei Times, she would only consider reducing water usage if it affected her finances.
Water in Brunei is heavily subsidised with the monthly tariff for domestic use set at B$0.11 (US$0.09) per 1,000 litres and B$0.44 (US$0.35) for every cubic metre in excess of the minimum.
"I don't think twice about using water, because it's relatively cheap," said Ajeeratul Abdullah, a lecturer at a private college in Brunei-Muara. If water prices were to rise drastically, she explained that she would look into ways to save water.
However, not all agreed to increased water prices. A civil servant, who declined to be named, believed there is a lack of water conservation awareness among the general public.
"The cost of water in Brunei is at a minimal and we take it for granted. Some don't feel the need to save water. If they feel the impact, that might get them to take action," said the 29-year-old from the capital.
He feared that increased water prices might pose a burden to low income households.
Another civil servant, who also requested anonymity, shared similar sentiments. He noted public education is crucial in sustainable water management.
"Water is something we take for granted. It's up to every individual to play a part in conserving water, even if it means only taking a five-minute shower," said the 26-year-old Brunei-Muara resident, proposing that awareness should be coupled with increased water prices.
Shawn Narcis, a 42-year-old interior contractor, suggested that awareness initiatives should highlight the need to conserve water for future generations.
At 450 litres per capita, equivalent to 300 1.5-litre bottles of water, the Sultanate's daily water usage is among the highest in the world.
Bathing constitutes 50 per cent of daily water usage per person in Brunei, according to the public works department in previous reports.