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Water bill is 22% dearer for Shanghai citizens

Water price in Shanghai will rise by about 22 percent from Saturday, which may bring an extra water bill of 10 yuan (US$1.5) or so per month to a typical household.

The new price will be fixed at 2.8 yuan per cubic meter, including a 1.63-yuan supply fee and another 1.3-yuan sewage treatment cost. But the sewage cost can receive a 10 percent off due to gap between consumption and discharge volume.

The city government said the extra revenue from increased water bills will be used to improve tap water quality and sewage treatment. Not single yuan will be used for the welfare of local water companies, it stressed.

"The price hike will definitely contribute to better quality of tap water for Shanghai residents because water companies are able to upgrade their facilities and services," said an official of the Shanghai Water Authority, who declined to be named.

Shen Weizhong, deputy director of water supply at the Shanghai Water Authority, said the price rise had nothing to do with the newly-built Qingcaosha Reservoir in the Yangtze River, which will supply cleaner water to about 70 percent of Shanghai's population.

The 17-billion-yuan reservoir will replace the Huangpu River as the main source of water for the city from next year.

The unnamed official said the 0.5-yuan price rise could hardly cover the cost of the construction of the reservoir.

Many Shanghai residents complained about the price rise and one local Website has offered tips on how to save water at home, including putting a bottle of water inside the water tank of a toilet so that less water would be used at each flush.

"Higher water price makes me want to dig a well for water," one Netizen complained online.
However, others said they were willing to pay more for better tasting water.

The city's water price climbed to 2.3 yuan from 1.84 yuan in June last year and Saturday's raise is the second step of a water price adjustment plan approved by the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, or the city's top planning body.

The commission held a public hearing on April 27, 2009, on the water price plan and decided to lift the price in two steps after many residents said the hike was more than expected.

The commission said the price rise was necessary because local water companies suffered a deficit of about 460 million yuan last year and this year their costs would increase by 552 million yuan.


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