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Tianjin to Lift Water Price

Tianjin Municipality in north China, which suffers the most serious water shortage among Chinese cities, announced Thursday to continue raising water price while encouraging water saving.


Yin Shuyan, director of the Municipal Commodity Price Bureau said at the government's work meeting that the rising margin of water price will be published later this year, which will be the seventh of its kind since 1997.


The previous price hikes have lifted water price from 0.68 yuan (US$0.08) per ton to 2.9 yuan (US$0.36) per ton in the city, which has the country's lowest per-capita water supply of 370 cubic meters, much lower than the world's water shortage alert line of 1,000 cubic meters per-capita.


Price regulation of water resources has been generally accepted as a solution to make sustainable use of water in Tianjin, which will soon become a primary beneficiary in the country's south-north water diversion program. A public hearing concerning the matter was held in August, during which residents expressed their readiness for another round of water price increase.


Despite the continuous growth in the city's population and economic development, the city has recorded a downturn in water consumption due to a rational allocation of water resources and the popularization of water recycling technology. The city's daily water consumption dropped from 2.2 million cubic meters in 1999 to 1.5 million cubic meters in 2004.


Tianjin now has a complete set of price system in controlling water resources used for industrial production. The city's water recycle rate in the industrial sector has reached 86 percent, which represents the international advanced level.


(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2005)

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