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Beijing to raise water price
Updated: 2004-05-23 11:36

Beijing will increase its average water price to 6 yuan (73 US cents) per cubic meter in 2005 as a measure to soothe the city's serious water shortage pressure, sources with the municipal water affairs office said.

The newly-established office integrates the formerly separate departments dealing with water source, supply, saving, drainage and waste water treatment so as to utilize water resources more efficiently.

Beijing raised the household water price to 4.07 yuan (around 49 US cents) from the previous 2.9 yuan (35 US cents) per cubic meter in 2003. This year, the price grew to about 5 yuan (60 US cents) per cubic meter, and will go on raising later, according to the Beijing Waterworks Group Ltd.

Though the price is going up, Jiao Zhizhong, the director of the office, said the municipal government will adopt a differentiated charging system on water consumption, which means those consuming more water than average should pay more, and those using water within certain quota can pay at a lower price, as a way to ease the financial burden of poor citizens. By paying more, people will become more aware of the value of water, Jiao said.

Official statistics show that China's per capita possession of fresh water resources stands at a mere 2,200 cubic meters, nearly one quarter of the world average.

However, in 2002, water consumption for every 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) of GDP realized in China reached 540 cubic meters, four times the world average level.

Jia Danbing, a deputy to the National People's Congress, China' s top legislature, said that in 40 percent of Chinese metropolises, at least 12 percent of the water supply is lost due to pipeline leakage and unthrifty users.

To this perplexing and worrisome situation, Jia suggested the government taking immediate actions such as raising the water price to intensify people's water-saving awareness, encouraging more inventions and a wider use of water saving devices to solve the problem.

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