Shenzhen is planning to amend the pricing structure of its water supply to certain service industries and to promote the recycling of wastewater.
The People's Congress of Shenzhen passed a resolution earlier this week urging a new pricing structure for recycled, desalinated, and refined rainwater so as to encourage more utilization of water resources.
The resolution also seeks to increase the price of piped water for certain service industries, such as car-wash outlets and saunas.
In Beijing, the price of water for car-wash outlets and saunas is 45 yuan (US$5.9) per cu m, and for water for domestic use, 3.7 yuan a cubic meter.
In Shenzhen, the prices are 7.5 yuan and 1.9 yuan per cu m respectively. The low prices have had little effect in conserving water.
"Increasing the price of water is an effective solution to easing the shortage," Jiang Zhunyu, director of the Shenzhen water resource bureau, said.
"The price for domestic water will only be slightly increased, so as not to greatly affect the public. The price increase for special water users, however, will be significant," Jiang said.
The increases will be put into effect gradually. Relevant departments will hold meetings with members of the public to solicit their opinions, Ma Yubin, deputy director of the Shenzhen price department, said.
At the end of last year, water used commercially accounted for about 10 percent of the city's total water consumption.
(China Daily September 27, 2007)