January 12, 2009
The World Bank urged China on Monday to raise water prices to encourage people to use less water and to promote efficiency in a bid to prevent a ‘severe water scarcity crisis.’
‘To provide appropriate incentives for the adoption of water saving technologies and behaviours, water prices need to be allowed to rise to reflect its full scarcity value,’ the bank said in a report published on Monday.
It said that water shortages, pollution and flooding had for years constrained growth and affected public health and welfare in many parts of China, which it claimed would soon join the group of ‘water stressed’ nations.
‘The combined pressures of rising water demand over limited supplies and deteriorating water quality from widespread pollution suggests that a severe water scarcity crisis is emerging, the report said.
The World Bank said the social impact of water price increases, especially those affecting the poor, would need to be addressed by establishing social protection measures.
Experts have repeatedly warned of a water crisis in China, particularly in the north of the country and in its capital, Beijing.
Probe International, a leading development policy group, said in June that the crisis was so severe in Beijing that the city faced economic collapse and the need to resettle part of its population in coming decades.
According to the group, water prices in Beijing in June were US$0.54 (S$0.80) a cubic metre, compared with between US$0.65 and US$0.80 in Brazil, and between US$2.20 and US$2.70 in England and Wales.
The World Bank report – Addressing China’s Water Scarcity: Recommendations for Selected Water Resource Management Issues – also urged China to strengthen water pollution control enforcement and emergency preparedness. — AFP
Categories: Beijing Water
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