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New Pricing System to Ease Water Shortages

China's urban residents and enterprises will pay higher prices for excessive water consumption by the end of 2005, and sewage processing fees will be charged throughout the country by the end of 2003, say sources with the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) of China.

China will collect water fees from urban residents at different prices according to consumption. Different cities will vary water prices with different seasons and local conditions. Recycled waterwill be priced much lower than tap water to encourage its use.

Officials with the SDPC said a new water pricing system was the key to conserving water resources. Currently, water prices in certain areas are relatively low, causing water consumption to far exceed the real need.

In cities which already have sewage processing fees, China will increase fees to ensure a balance between cost and profit. In cities short of water, local administrations will ban or limit projects with high water consumption.

Relevant administrations in China will hold public hearings to establish a reasonable water pricing system, said Wang Yang, vice-minister of the SDPC.

(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2002)

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