Water price in China, which is still lower than what it should be, fails to encourage people to cut back on their use of the decreasing water resources, an official with the Chinese Ministry of Construction said Wednesday.
Zhang Yue, deputy director of the ministry's urban construction department, made the remarks at the first national conference on promoting regional urban-rural water supply held in Changshu, a city of east China's Jiangsu Province.
Zhang urged to reform the water price by giving full play to the role of the price lever so as to make more people realize that water is precious resource.
The price reform should also consider the need of sewage water treatment, water supply pipeline construction, and proper allocation of water resources, said Zhang.
Zhang told Xinhua that to release the water supply pressure, the Ministry of Construction is developing some demonstration sewage water recycling projects around the country, in order to establish a sound water-recycling system in China.
One demonstration sewage water treatment plant in Tianjin Development Zone has made encouraging progress in processing water which is qualified for drinking. Though the current price of recycled water is almost the same as fresh water, Zhang said sewage water treatment might have a bright market in China since the price of fresh water will surely go up, while the recycled water price will go down along with technological advancement.
At the current stage, increasing people's consciousness of saving water is as important as all other water-saving measures including the economic and legal support in various localities, the official said.
Especially in the rural areas, to extend both urban water supply service and water saving concept will be of great importance in urging the rural people to save water resources, since they have to pay for their water consumption according to the reform plan, said Zhang.
China sets May 9-15 every year as urban water-saving publicity week, with an aim to urge people nationwide to adopt a water-saving concept.
Many Chinese cities now suffer heavy water shortage, and the per capita water resources for the Chinese is only one-fourth of the world average. China also faces other challenges like imbalance in the distribution of water resources and serious water pollution.
(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2004)