China likely to raise urban water prices, report
BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities on January 26 released a document to raise urban sewage treatment charging standards, which industry insiders believe to have paved the way for the country to hike water prices, the Xinhua-run Economic Information Daily reported on Monday.
According to the document, urban sewage treatment fees for residents and non-residents will be raised to no less than 0.95 yuan/metric ton (tonne) and 1.4 yuan/tonne, respectively, which will take effect from March 1, 2015.
At present, urban water supply prices in a majority of Chinese cities consist of water rate, water resource fee and sewage treatment fee. Raising urban sewage treatment charging standards is expected to trigger a new round of water price hike in most of Chinese cities, say analysts.
Due to government subsidies not in place timely and low resident/non-resident sewage treatment fees, a majority of sewage treatment plants in China are incurring losses or gaining meager profits for years, which hampers projects of upgrading water quality.
Research institutions point out that after the rise of urban sewage treatment charges, sewage treatment plants will likely increase service fees for processing wastewater, which is favorable for the entire sewage treatment industry.
Until Monday, the long-awaited guidelines for water pollution control have not been rolled out.
It is reported that the guidelines are aimed at improving charging standards of sewage treatment, pollution discharge fees and water resource fees. (Edited by Hu Pingchao, firstname.lastname@example.org)