China / Society

Beijing prepares for new water rates

By Zheng Xin ( Updated: 2014-04-02 17:19

Beijing is preparing to launch a water pricing reform that charges tiered prices for household water usage in the area, in an effort to encourage people to conserve water, the authorities said.

A three-rate structure is suggested. As families or enterprises use more water, they will be charged a higher rate, according to the Beijing Water Authority.

The prices will be based on average annual household water consumption, it said.

The water authority has released two plans with slight differences for the pricing system. The final version will be released after the last public hearing on April 17 in which the government will solicit public opinion.

Twenty-five representatives will attend the hearing, among them residents, industrial users, lawmakers, political advisers, scholars, and government officials, along with designees from social groups and water companies.

The first tier applies to 85 percent to 90 percent of urban households, the water authority said.

Jin Shudong, head of the authority, said the government would offer subsidies to low-income families to ensure their living standards will not be affected.

Zhang Fan, a 26-year-old resident of Beijing, said she welcomed the price hike but hoped the water companies and the government could further improve the water quality and service for local residents.

"The price hike would help prevent extravagance and make better use of the water resources," she said. "But as consumers we also expect better water quality."

Beijing has been plagued by droughts in the past few decades and has seen serious water shortages.

Hot Topics