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Shenzhen to Raise Water Price
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Shenzhen will raise water prices to discourage waste, Shen Qingsan, chief of the local pricing bureau told a water forum last week although he did not give a timetable for the price hike.

Water prices will be raised minimally for local residents but drastically for businesses like car-washing centers and saunas, Shen said. The chief also promised thorough research and public hearings before the new scheme is adopted.

Jiang Zunyu, chief of the local water bureau, said the city's water prices are much cheaper than in other domestic cities, though Shenzhen suffers a serious water shortage. Saunas and car washers in Beijing pay 60 yuan (US$7.5) and 40 yuan respectively for each ton of water, while in Shenzhen, they pay just 7.5 yuan. A hike in the water price for certain businesses will help raise water-saving awareness among the general public, he said.

Statistics from the pricing bureau show that water consumed by an average local family dropped from 29 tons per month in the late 1990s to 18 tons now. There was a visible drop in water consumption when prices were raised and a new pricing scheme introduced in 2004, Shen said.

Shen suggested that the city do more to recycle sewage.

About 70 percent of the water supply in Shenzhen comes from the upper reaches of the Dongjiang River, delivered by pipeline. The city is investing 550 million yuan to construct the second phase of the Dongjiang water project, which will bring the total Dongjiang water supply to 720 million tons when it is completed in two years' time.

(Shenzhen Daily November 14, 2006)

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