Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Free Water

This topic has been hanging in the air for a fairly long time, but I've yet to comment on it - partly because, the DAP MP for Klang, Charles Santiago has repeatedly given his views on this issue which I share wholeheartedly.

The Selangor Government has made it a point as one of the first 100 days target and achievement to be providing 20 cubic metres of free water to all households. And the Selangor Government achieved it through the simplest of means, the state government footing the bill for it to the water concessionaire.

I do not believe that this is the right policy prescription towards creating a more compassionate state, particularly for the lower-income groups - an objective which I share wholeheartedly. And providing free water to all households, without conditions, is a fairly inefficient way of achieving such an objective.

First of all, everyone, whether they can afford it or otherwise, gets the free water and hence the solution isn't targeted at all towards the lower income group. Secondly, so a policy typically encourages wastage despite water (particularly in Selangor) being a precious and scarce resource.

I remain consistent in my position that the best way to approach the problem of assisting the lower income group is to provide the cash benefits directly to them. That way, they can choose to spend the benefit according to their own personal needs, be it water, fuel or other basic necessities. Overall, for the same amount of money poured on subsidies, the poor will benefit more (as the wealthier groups will not get the subsidy). Or alternatively, for the same amount of subsidy per individual, the state will save more as they don't have to subsidise the wealthier households.

The government, both federal and state must re-look into the traditional ways by which we have forked out subsidies, their distortionary impact and untargeted mechanism in meeting their welfare objectives.

Below are some quotes from Charles, as reported in The Star and The Sun:
Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) coordinator Charles Santiago said the Selangor government should have done a comprehensive study before carrying out the move as the cost to be borne by the government would be too high.

“To subsidise 1.5 million households in Selangor, the government would have to fork out almost RM11mil per month and more than RM132 million a year,” he said.

He suggested that that the Selangor government should consider rain harvesting instead as it would save the people more than the RM11 they enjoy with the rebate.

“Through water audits, the water bills can also be reduced by up to 30-40%,” he said.

Santiago, who is also Klang MP, added that the rebate would also cause people to waste water as “people would waste anything that comes free”.

“In five years time, we will be facing a water crisis just as how we are facing an oil crisis now. We can live without petrol, but we can’t live without water,” he pointed out.

---

DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago said Selangor government’s first 20-cubic-metres (20,000 litres) free water policy was not properly well-thought before it was announced.

Santiago, who is also Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) coordinator, said: “I will maintain that households earning a monthly income of RM1,500 and below should still get free water. No question about it. I think those in the rich category would consider it an insult for not being charged.

“But the monies may have been better used for other facilities like helping buildings set up rain-harvesting systems which encourages conservation of processed water,” he told theSun when contacted.
It is worth noting that this "free water" policy will cost the Selangor state government RM10.4 million per month, or RM128 million a year. State governments are not known for their wealth, despite Selangor being the richest state in the country. RM128 million works out to a little more than 10% of the state's annual income. Is that the best way to expend a very substantial portion of the state's very limited funds and resources?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

I live in PJ Utara and share the same concern with you. Being a consumer i certainly hope to get thing free :p

However from environmental standpoint, it's worrying. My next question is how long will Selangor Government subsidises.

Recently i come across this system call the EcoRain (http://www.ecotechnic.at/ecoRain/title.htm) and read that a local company MTS Fibromat (http://www.btimes.com.my/Monday/OurPick/enfib.xml/Article/print_html) is into it. Yet to check the price out, but i guess it will not come cheap.

Perhaps the S'gor state government can consider this as a long run community project within each housing area instead. So fresh water is solely for consumption and reduce the water bill to certain extend.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

dear tony,
i agree.they should give the money to the lower income group.if they give free water,the rich people also will get it

Unknown said...

i agree with tony puia.the people whos going to benefit the most from the free water programme is the rich not the poor. the state government isnt very wise by spending ten percent of their income on subsidizing water whereas they could help the poor directly by giving cash rebate and stuffs

Anonymous said...

Until 15.6.2008, we still received the waterbill without any free water (as claimed by Selangor State Govt, we should have).

WY said...

well said tony.

any response from PKR on this issue? maybe trash out a plan for welfare-for-the-poor replacement program, where poor ppl will stay get free water (or cash rebate). how would you recommend the state govt to categorize "poor" ppl?

personally, i think it's a matter of urgency to establish a proper national income database (more so, when 90% of the pop) is not taxed.

Anonymous said...

From now onwards, people MUST rely on options on long term conservation (building harvesting system is one of it), instead of Government way of just spending without thinking of the cumulative effects and what are the things it could miss out in the long term.
- Concerned Selangor resident -

Jeyel said...

Free water would promote wastage and is not good for the environment. There are much better ways to help the needy. I support the PR govt but I can't agree with this policy. Hope they can do something to change it.

Bentoh said...

Ah well... you gotta understand that it's part of the PKR's manifesto in the 12th GE...

and shall they not fulfill that... they will get taken to task by the rakyat, the BN and others... ;)

very much like the way Penang appoint its local government... and got slammed by tons of NGO etc... for not being able to uphold the ideal of local election... which the DAP has been championing for... even though the DAP explained that it needs time to implement but because no road map planned... there you go... :)

some of the people even bash the PKR-led Selangor government for some false promises such as lower cukai taksiran etc which won't be feasible in the time being...~~

It is very important that a party don't make too much not-so-feasible promises just to win over the people...

The democrats promises to pull US troops out from Iraq, together with the healthcare bill were trashed by President George W Bush's veto power... and yet the Democrats were the one who got blamed for not being able to fulfill what they had said in the 2006 Midterm election~~

=================================

As for forking out cash to directly benefit the poors as what DAP did in Penang... one would ask, why not teach and provide the poors with "fishing equipments and techniques" but to give them fish directly? what if they instead use the money to gamble?

How do you categorize a family as "poor"?

The effect of 20 cubics of free water is yet to be determined... certainly it won't help much in the hyper-inflating economy fueled by the oil price hike...

And whether or not people will end up wasting more water... We'll have to see... but shall there be any prove to show that water consumption goes much higher due to the free water... this policy must go...

we can't afford to fork out more and more environmental and monetary resources for the wasting habit of the people...

Anonymous said...

Dont be too sure that by giving the subsidy you help the poor. I know of many poor and low income people who frequent the coffee shop gambling dens!And that is where the additional money will be deposited....

politicsisfun said...

Kok Ben, that is WHY do not simply make such manifestos. And it is funny to see they are settling this water issues, but leaving the other bigger issues in their manifesto (well, at least they say not YET, yada yada). If you do, especially so for PR, the rakyat nowadays are like hawks (especially so SELANGOR people, right Tony? ;) ), always watching their next move and ready to pounce if PR do anything wrong. They were unforgiving towards BN in the last elections, why would they compromise on PR now? PR feeling the pinch of governing the people already.

On another note, I really agree with what Charles Santiago has to say. Just like the fuel subsidy, the rich would benefit more than the poor. Surely the rich folk in Selangor can afford to pay RM11 per month for the water? Subsidy should be spent somewhere where it is more equally distributed, on foodstuff like rice, bread, flour for example.

Anonymous said...

I have a disagreement. Cash is NOT the best way to help lower income. The best way is earned income. The most successful welfare program in the US has been the work-welfare program where people are rewarded for work.

Straight cash is a last resort. As is a free water..

On free water. A better way, to encourage conservation, is to give free water but make it up with raising rates for wasteful users. This is how its done where water is scarce.

Anonymous said...

FREE VOTER....

Last month, Umno Johor said that the greatest mistake they made was in giving the non-Malay immigrants citizenship in August 1957. Now that they have been given citizenship they show their ingratitude by voting for the opposition. Yes, non-Malays, even those born in Malaysia , are immigrants. And, being immigrants, they must vote Barisan Nasional. And if they do not vote for Barisan Nasional then they are ungrateful.

Yes, voting is your right. This is your right according to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. Malays can vote for whomsoever they would like to vote for because the Constitution allows them to do so. Malays, therefore, can vote for the opposition. But, if you are non-Malay, then you must vote for Barisan Nasional because you are an immigrant. If you vote for the opposition then you are a traitor, you are ungrateful, and it was a great mistake giving you citizenship in 1957.

Tun Dr Mahathir's father was born in India . But Tun Dr Mahathir can vote opposition. He can even oppose Umno like he is doing so now. In fact, he can even become the Prime Minister. He is not an ungrateful immigrant who should be sent back to India . Tian Chua, however, can't oppose Umno. Tian Chua, whose family settled in Malaya long before the Portuguese came in 1511, is an immigrant. And if he is not happy and if he opposes Umno then he should go back to China . And Umno Johor regrets giving Tian Chua citizenship in 1957 but does not regret giving Tun Dr Mahathir citizenship.

Why? Because Tun Dr Mahathir is Muslim while Tian Chua is not. But if Tian Chua circumcises and takes on the Muslim name of Musa Bin Susah and marries a Malay woman, then he need not go back to China and Umno does not regret giving him citizenship in 1957.

The Malays have a very warped view of justice. Malays practice two standards of justice. There is one standard for the Malays and another for the non-Malays. And 90% of the tax is paid by the non-Malays and 10% by the Malays, says Tun Dr Mahathir. But 10% or the scholarships must go to the non-Malays and 90% to the Malays. And when they propose to change this to 40% for the non-Malays and 60% for the Malays, the Malays raise a hue and cry. And they call this justice. And they say Islam is about justice.

If this is an example of Islamic justice then I just shudder to think what would happen if Muslims start becoming unjust.

Take a closer look at Free Water, it's given out FREE for ALL without questions being asked by government in waiting.

Bentoh said...

Oh By the way... Jed Yoong www.jedyoong.com has some interesting entries about you... just in case you are not aware of... ;) which ranging from you being an MCA plant... to your Singaporean-ness... ;)

Anonymous said...

it's a very Catch 22 thing,the situation that the Selangor government finds itself in now. Whichever many ways by which they can brush off the police reports made by "Anak Selangor", to not fulfill this one now might just be the final breaking straw. I hope both the parties/politicians as well as the people take more care in the manifestos from now on, to realise that popolist promises like these might in the end harm us all.

Anonymous said...

Hi YB Tony,

I don’t believe giving cash or subsidies to the poor will help the poor in long term. And the poor will continue depends on the subsidies to survive and their living standard will not improve.

A better plan for education, career development, and family planning for poor is better plan to help poor, the poor need to improve themselves if they don’t want to be in the poor category. We want to become a develop country and state, we don’t want to have too many poor people in ours country and state, it will not benefits ours economic and GDP growth.

Regards,
Strong DAP Supporter.

Anonymous said...

Forget about cash.Just hold back all water bills below say RM10 and divert to Selangor Govt. Will this work to satisfy everybody?

NEIL said...

YB,The best way to help the lower income group is to find jobs for them. If they are to be help all the time, then lazyness will start to creep in.Like in charity don't donate money just help them to get on and give them some advise.Create jobs for these lower income group so they can EARN some money.For example in Sarawak there are alot of natives from the rural areas. These people are taught to plant vegetables and collect jungle produces to sell it at the council designated areas.In this way they learn how to trade and get the latest news from the market.Don't give them,teach them,solve problems not compound,win them not lose them.

Anonymous said...

we just have to bite the bullet for the sins of BN. no matter what you do, the short term consequences will bring pain.

indeed for us PJ folks (tony blog readers) who are not affected by water tariff, consider the poor first and help them through. economics model says is not right to do this but humanity says that help the ppl to ride through the storm first. wait till the PR takes over the federal govt, do a total revamp of what are to be paid by govt and what are to be paid by residents.

such thing as education and healthcare is a must to be taken care by the govt. once a person is equipped with the skills through proper training/education, then he is ought to pay petrol, water, communication and utilities at market rate.

we all PJ folks are generally above average, so help the poor first. if you think that the Selangor govt is running out of funds and we do not deserve the subsidy, walk your talk. contribute back to the accounts of the selangor govt.

this is a collective move. is time to contribute back to the govt. do some maths, it make sense.

joseph

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

I agree with you and Charles Santiago. Giving free water to the rich families simply does not make any economic sense. This policy should have been studied carefully before implementation for the sake of pleasing the voters.

I salute your courage to voice out your own opinion, unlike those MCA politicians who only say 'yes' to their UMNO evil master.

Anonymous said...

Water is like oil - limited in supply and also being polluted by rubbish we throw. Malaysians do not know that the cig butts would pollute runoff water for years. In China and many parts of the world, water is getting less as they overpump ground water.

PKR made a mistake in giving free water. Although, they made a promise, they can substitue with giving better and cheaper public transport. Afterall, who take public transport. NOt rich and even middle rakyat but the poor! The State Government can allocate reduced cost transport around PJ, Subang Jaya, Klang and all small towns. Have a time table that runs punctually so that, people will take bus and save cost.
Again a big mistakes by BN Government. The subsidies should be used in improving public transport. If you are rich, go ahead and use your car. Otherwise, go public and save the environment and climate change

Anonymous said...

what does the future hold for malaysia?

Dooms??

There are so much of uncertainty!

I am really thinking of bringing my family to migrate for good.

Is even harder to be husband now than during my father times!

With all this payrise for TNB head adding fuel to fire!

Anonymous said...

The present government is now giving the rakyaat free rapid kl buses. There are hundreds of rapid Kl buses as reported in Mahathirs blog

Anonymous said...

It seems that everyone tried to be hero to protect the poor. Let Selangor state govt assist the poor to have own watermeter, or those heros here make contribution for the watermeter.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we cut off water supply to those who disagree with free water and let's see how they conserve.

NEO said...

First, ascertain the costs require in providing clean water services,

Then, balance the costs incurred in providing the water supply services with small surplus of income. This is to ensure sufficient funds are available for replacement of water pulping once every 10 years

Finally, reduce the tarif charged on end-user.

In summary, providing water services is not a profit making business but rather a "National Services" that should be perform by a responsible government!

Stop privatising all "National Services" Please.

SOP said...

Which party do you think will form the next government of Malaysia ?

Express yourself at votingmalaysia.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that as the BN/Umno regime is sinking like the Titanic, there are individuals within Umno who are trying to portray themselves as pious patriots to Islam and the Malay race. The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Minister in the PM’s Department, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. This oxymoron wants all signboards and official publications to be in Malay written in the Roman alphabet and Malay written in the Jawi (Arabic) script.

On one hand, the BN/Umno regime is trying to woo foreigners to make Malaysia their second home under the Malaysia My Second Home Program, but on another hand, there seems to be a hypocritical zest to Talibanize this multi racial, multi religious country. I have friends who have taken up the Malaysia My Second Home Program who often complained to me that if this country ever wants to surpass Singapore as the preferred destination for their second home, Malaysia must use English together with Bahasa Malaysia in signboards and official correspondences.

Very often I get complaints from foreigners who have made Malaysia their second home that whenever they write letters to the local authorities in English, the letter is replied in Bahasa Malaysia. This to me is plain stupid! Either the people in government are pea brained language fanatics like Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the rest of the clowns in Umno, or these folks just don’t have the competency to write in English. I’m sure racists like Persatuan Pemuafakatan Melayu, GAPENA, GPMS and those guys from DBP would be hitting the ‘kompang’ hard to have everything written in Jawi.

Even in a Middle Eastern country like Oman, all signboards and official correspondences are in Arabic and English. A South Korean businessman once lamented to me that even in Thailand, English is used alongside Thai. He said it is difficult for foreign businessman like him when he comes to Malaysia, as everything seems to be written only in Bahasa Malaysia. Now, with Zahid Hamidi’s no-brainer, instead of having English written alongside Bahasa Malaysia, we are going to have Jawi instead.

Anonymous said...

Ask charles to rain havest himself first,the next election the RAKYAT will send Charles to HELL FOREVER!If Charles suggest to give cash, we RAKYAT will think Charles is also a corrupt like BN/UMNO Morons!! Opportunity for corruption is there for PKR Reprentatives.
I suggest, those who stays in BUNGALOWS will not have FREE water. Since they can afford to own BUNGALOW(S)- RICH PEOPLE, they can afford to pay.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

Glad that we are on the same page on this subject.

Though we have and may have disagreements in the future,it is hope that we could do it in a civilized manner...

From the UMNO grassroot of Damansara Utama

Best wishes,
http://umnodu.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Election promise must be fulfilled, although it is seen to be "unthought" of. People will know that you keep your promise to them. Afterwards, if things need to be sorted out or improvements are needed, e.g., giving more help to the poorer people than the rich, then do the necessary follow up.

Anonymous said...

I assumed that the state govt will be subsidising quite a bit on the free water for Selangor, but I am sure that if the authorities were to impose stricter enforcement on the traffic offenders, they will be able to more than offset the money spent on the provision of free water

Edward's friend

Anonymous said...

Hallo Tony,

I understand that the Selangor PAS Youth Chief will hold a demonstration if Ella is allowed to perform in the Selangor Sultan Cup which will take place soon.....What is your stance with regards on this matter?Give them full backing?...Before the election, u promised all the voters that u are against the idea of setting up an islamic state due to Msia as a multi-racial nation....
Hello,U hv cheated us....U r now collaborating with PAS for Islamic State Agenda......

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony:
Please raise the Indahwater issue in the Parliament. We have to pay RM8 per month. A household of 3 may only use clean water (even though not so clean) up to RM7 per month (and now get totally free water from Sel State Govt) will still continue to pay RM8 to Indahwater. Jahanam Indahwater!!! No wonder BN is also jahanam!!! Down with MCA Ong KT.

Anonymous said...

Tony Pua against free water, agree with oil price rise. Take note??

NYPT said...

instead of giving out cash rebates, i think the state government should hand out coupons for free water to the deserving ones.

this is because some may spend the money for other wasteful things like cigirettes or alcohol. you cannot assume that all will be economically rational.

so the better solution is coupons with the name of the individual imprinted to avoid transference.

Anonymous said...

The person who makes the decision does this on his own? Doesn't he need to consult anyone, think over it, get the agreement of the majority?

Wah. Does he have veto power?

Even if it's not a good decision, i think, it's due to face matter, (coz already promised mah), the person still want to berkeras kepala to proceed.. even though the outcome is known that will rugi.

Will the person cut lost or not when he knows his investment is losing money?

How come seems like there's no kerjasama with the people we've voted for and the government?

Anonymous said...

Guys, with the price of fuel upped by the Federal government every sen we can save from utility is better than non. So don't go on complaining if BN takes over and you get nothing. Be sensible you guys!!!!! Its just like the traffic summon issues. A chief of police has suggested to place the traffic compound rate at the lowest to combat corruption in the police force. Then, some idiots, like some forumers here say, no it will encourged people to break traffic rules. So the compound remained. Now with the fuel price increase and the traffic compund rate at the same levels, you dungus out there deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

I really appreciate what the current selangor government has done. Times like this, free water prabably very significant for those with low income earner. Thank you Pakatan Rakyat..

Victor Koo

Anonymous said...

Dear Fellow Malaysians & DAP Supporters,

SAPP is doing a very good job by showing a 100% Vote of No Confidence towards Pak Lah, the piggy brain PM.

The time has come for fellow Malaysians to stay united and focus our energy to kick Abdullah Ahmad Badawi out from his sleeping bed.

Enough is enough.

Please, let us do our level best to bring Pak Lah down to ground zero and focus each of our useful energy by contributing in a strong and positive manner towards Pakatan Rakyat administration, our new and beloved government in waiting to lead this country away from Cronies, Corruption & Destruction!

Together, we can truly make this change possible very soon.

Good Luck to ALL Fellow Malaysian.

Long Live DAP!

Anonymous said...

Are the poor so poor that they cannot afford water? I am familiar with a setinggan area in JB. The people there are not poor. They can afford the latest motorbikes, Gen2, Pesona,Astro, LCD TV , digicam etc etc. But they let their children skip school, stay out late running around the area, smoke , AFUNDI and many more. These type od people are every where. They dont need free water.

What these people require are discipline. Period.

Iman

Anonymous said...

YB TONY

In a few sentences try to explain to us the rakyaat the pros and cons and short term and long term advantages and disadvantages of foreign investments in our country

SOP said...

Which party do you think will form the next government of Malaysia ?

Express your feeling at votingmalaysia.blogspot.com

Let's gather 1 million votes together, hand in hand.

Anonymous said...

Seems like it was done in a haste & not so well discussed with Syabas. Selangor MB should know better. A better mechanism should be in place. First water is free, now must pay min charge RM 6...all not very clearly ladi out in the beginning. Very confusing. Water quality should be improved if supply is not an issue.

Anonymous said...

"Is that the best way to expend a very substantial portion of the state's very limited funds and resources?"

I guess humans really do forget the meaning of gratitude eh.
Eventually the funds will be used for the rakyat, thus this new policy is somewhat a way for the rakyat to be given 'something' at least. other means, it's still vice versa

Anonymous said...

no coment on the water.... i dont think the 20 cubic meter will much affect the syabas yearly income.

for those who no chinese, read this article. -http://www.guangming.com.my/norent de/28609

why government RENT car at RM2000 per month from THAT company?

Why dont just buy it???
RM2000? not expensive? i thought government own car got free of road tax and sales tax...

I own at waja also... average service and installment below RM1500.

Why i always think government miss use the MONEY????? what you think?

Bentoh said...

It's the impact of giving free water...

Water, like many other important resources such as Oil, Timber and etc... that the environmental price has been long ignored in the economic cost...

And even nowadays when the Global warming is knocking our door... we are still being ignorant in the carbon we are producing from the running tap water... and that's the worrying part to me...

but as I said before... will giving out free water cause more water wastage? we will see it in few months time...

==================================

Anyway, one of the few way of discouraging the use of plastic bags is to charge 10 cent for each plastic bags, which some of the supermarkets all around the world are doing... ;)

Anonymous said...

Tony, If you think subsidising free water to all households without conditions would be unfair to lower income group as the rich would also get the benefits, same goes to petrol.

If the gov subsidized the petrol, the rich who have big and many cars, save more than the lower income who would only use an average car?

Why did you so concern about free water, I thought we as rakyat choose PR because they want to set up the negeri kebajikan?

Fernando said...

Who should be the next PM ?

Express your feeling at votingmalaysia.blogspot.com

Bentoh said...

curious but still want the free water :) said...

Tony, If you think subsidising free water to all households without conditions would be unfair to lower income group as the rich would also get the benefits, same goes to petrol.

If the gov subsidized the petrol, the rich who have big and many cars, save more than the lower income who would only use an average car?

Why did you so concern about free water, I thought we as rakyat choose PR because they want to set up the negeri kebajikan?

==================================

Errr... curious... do you need explanation? or are you seeking explanation?

the writer did suggest to remove petrol subsidies anyway...

and I thought this entry has clearly written why the writer disagree over the free water policy?

anyway... if you are earning enough... would you mind the state government uses the taxes you paid, to fund lower income group of people, instead of giving everyone, included those richer than you... a wang saku? so because you are not poor, and the government doesn't give you perks, so you think the government is no longer championing for negeri kebajikan?

Anyway (x2)... The free water or the cash rebate idea is both controversial to me... economically speaking...

but as an environmentalist myself... Free water is way dangerous than cash rebate... ;)

Bentoh said...

Sorry to post more and more here...

I guess the political climate is that the people fancy populism... and the recent 3 posts from you hasn't been populism at all... (actually... isn't cash rebate a populism?)

I guess the road is bumpy ahead for your suggestion and your view...

Anonymous said...

Water should not be free as people will not value it. They will waste it. Also, who will pay to improve the quality of water? The water in Selangor is like teh tarik. Since it it free, where to get funds to improve the water quality? How to pay contractors to lock up the service reservoirs and desluge them regularly? What about old pipes. Mind you, not only water will leak out but also cntaiminated water will also leak in.

As for cars, it s a right step. Government can rent cars from Tendered companies. Any mechanical problems will be maintained by them. Otherwise, they have to be sent to Government workshop for repairs. Do you think government workshop will be effecient as private and also there will be corruption and leakages.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with your point of view that the MALAYSIAN STYLE of subsidy is NOT the way to go forward. Subsidy should go directly to the poor. State government could have use the money in the area of R&D for future benefit, to increase the productivity. We shldnt artificially create a impression of THINGS are still CHEAP in our mindset. It is not a wise move to help the poor INDIRECTLY.....

Anonymous said...

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made of the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed." Herman Melville.

I personally dont agree in giving them money, although it does seem like a great idea to us city dwelling folk. However, there are great perversions that money handout causes.

The best still would be for the government to offer it automatically for the income group via homework(research) done on the side of the water provider and also the government. I'm pretty sure the government has a good idea who are the lower income group. Why does the people have to do the work for the government unless for a VERY good reason? we already pay taxes.

In this country they are already at a disadvantage, why make it more difficult for them?