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Locals to pay 25% more for tap water

SHANGHAI residents will pay 25 percent more for their tap water starting tomorrow and then get soaked with a 22 percent rate increase in November next year, the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission said yesterday.

In return, the water companies pledged to provide a better quality product and improve services.

Fees for water use and discharges will rise to 2.3 yuan (14 US cents) per cubic meter tomorrow and to 2.8 yuan next year. Commission officials said the extra fees will be used to increase tap water quality and to fund sewage treatment projects. The money cannot be spent on increasing company profits or employee compensation.

City water companies suffered a deficit of about 460 million yuan last year and expect to spend 552 million yuan on improving service and ensuring a safe water supply this year.

Among the service improvements promised yesterday, local water companies said they will change residential meters for free every six years and renovate old taps at no charge for the disabled and the needy.

In early April, the commission floated two proposals for a water fee adjustment, one a flat rise and the other a graduated increase depending on usage. At a public hearing, most people supported the first proposal because it was easier to administer.


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