The affluent southern province of Guangdong plans to raise the average sewage treatment charge from 35 cents to 50 cents per ton for every ton water consumption by the end of this year.
However, the adjusted charges will still be lower than 80 cents per ton suggested by the central government, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.
Guangzhou's Shijing Sewage Treatment Plant began construction in October last year.
Most of the sewage treatment plants in the province are running at a loss because of the low charge. The normal treatment costs stand at about 1.2 yuan per ton, which include the operational costs, depreciation of the equipment and loan interests.
Official statistics showed that 21 cities, 17 counties and 14 towns in Guangdong imposed sewage treatment charge by the end of 2006. Thirty-seven counties have still not imposed any charges.
However, the charges vary in different regions, depending on the local economic development.
In Shenzhen, which ranks first in per capita GDP in the country, the local government charges up to 1.1 yuan per ton for residential sewage and 1.05 yuan for industrial sewage.
Shenzhen has introduced a system under which sewage treatment charge depends on the residents' consumption of water.
In Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong, the sewage treatment charge is 63 cents per ton.
However, the sewage treatment charges in the counties and towns range from 10 cents to 60 cents per ton.
The average level of sewage treatment charge in Guangdong is quite lower than other developed provinces of China.
In Shanghai, the charge is 90 cents per ton; In east China's Jiangsu Province, the charge is 1 yuan while in Zhejiang, another province in east China, the charge also stands at 90 cents.
Despite the low charges, Guangdong Province ranks first in the sewage treatment capability in the country, thanks to the generous investment by the local governments.
About 88 urban sewage treatment plants had been built in the province by June, 2006, which could handle about 6.7 million tons of sewage every day.
(China Daily HK Edition June 8, 2007)