Beijing Water

Water prices to rise from next year

Cui Xiaohuo
China Daily
November 9, 2009

The price of tap water in Beijing will increase from Jan 1, the Beijing water resources bureau said.
A panel of water policy experts will assist in determining the price at a meeting in November or December. Officials are yet to decide whether members of the public will be invited to comment.
Under the new pricing structure, a limit would also be placed on the amount of water available to government and commercial organizations. The limit for individual businesses will be based on its consumption data from the previous three years.
Zhang Ping, deputy director of the Beijing water resources bureau, said water supplies for the city’s 20 million residents have been impacted by the drought and a five-year delay on a major water diversion project from the southern provinces.
“Both factors have intensified this year’s water resource crisis,” Zhang said.
Authorities have said on numerous occasions this year that the price increase will be similar to the last hike in 2004, when the cost was raised by one third from 2.9 yuan ($0.42) per ton to the current 3.7 yuan.
This means residents will likely pay about 5 yuan per ton.
A family of three that consumes about 10 tons of water each month would pay an extra of 150 yuan in 2010.
The increase is unlikely to be much of a burden on local residents, who earn an average of 20,000 yuan per year.
Officials said the increase would also apply to car wash businesses and saunas, which use about 1.7 million tons of water each year, which is equal to the amount of water held in Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace imperial resort.
These businesses are currently charged between 40 and 60 yuan per ton of tap water they use.
The government said it hoped the price hike would urge big water consumers to upgrade their conservation facilities.
The Beijing water resources bureau will decide on the amount of water that can be consumed, and organizations will be fined if they exceed the limit.
Professor Wang Dangxian, a researcher with the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, said the government was very concerned about its water sources.
“They used to apply the strict water policy and high water prices to industrial facilities only. Now they want to use it citywide,” he told METRO.
Li Yan, a 25-year-old financial consultant who lives in Chaoyangmen, said she believed higher water prices would encourage residents to save more resources.
“I guess my roommate and I will just save water from the small things in our daily lives,” she told METRO.
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