Residents and businesses in Guangzhou are being urged to conserve more water to help the southern city become one of the country's "water-saving model areas."
The municipal urban and gardening bureau has released details online of the measures needed for the city to enter the list for people to comment on.
They include the installation of water meters, use of water-saving taps and toilets, an upper daily water consumption limit, treatment of water leakages and the recycled use of water for landscaping.
China initiated the water-saving model city campaign a decade ago, which was aimed at major cities in the country.
About 20 areas, including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, have entered the list of water-saving model cities.
Luo Ning'an, deputy director of the municipal urban and gardening bureau in Guangzhou, said making the list was by no means easy for the city.
He said residents have long regarded the water supply as being more than adequate, and have been rather careless with water use.
Official statistics indicate the daily per capita water consumption in Guangzhou was more than 322 liters last year, about 100 liters more than Beijing and 200 liters more than Shanghai.
Luo said that the city aims to lower the city's daily household water consumption to less than 220 liters per capita.
The official said that the city has urged more than 100 major water consuming enterprises to improve the efficiency of water use and become water-saving models.
And his bureau has offered training programs to such enterprises to improve the efficiency of their water use.
"Saving water is good for the environment and for society," said Liu Jianqiang, a middle-aged resident in the city's Tianhe District.
Liu suggested that relevant departments should also do more about water waste in public facilities and the problem of leaking water pipes, and encourage more awareness among the public.
"On several occasions, I have seen fresh water gushing out from big water pipes, but passers-by just turned a blind eye."
Lu Qingpu, a senior engineer of Guangzhou Environment Monitoring Centre and a member of the municipal political consultative committee, said the wider use of recycled water was needed.
At present, recycled water is primarily used for watering plants in the sewage treatment factories in Guangzhou.
The expert suggested that the installation of recycled water supply pipes should be taken into consideration in future urban planning.
The city raised water prices to 1.32 yuan (16 US cents) from 0.9 yuan (11 US cents) per cubic meter for household consumption, except for low-income families, from the start of the year, a hike of nearly 47 percent.
Water supply chiefs said the price rise aimed to reduce extravagant consumption of drinking water while helping make up for the losses of the waterworks in the city.
(China Daily March 21, 2006)