China Sets Minimum Water-Resource Fees by 2015 to Promote Reform

China has set the minimum to which regions must raise their water resource rates by the end of 2015 to narrow regional gaps and encourage reforms.

Beijing and Tianjin are required by 2015 to raise the fees, the highest in the nation, to at least 1.6 yuan (26 U.S. cents) per cubic meter for surface water and 4 yuan per cubic meter for ground water, the National Development and Reform Commission said today on its website.

The lowest fees are set in 13 regions including Shanghai, China’s biggest city, at 0.1 yuan per cubic meter for surface water and 0.2 yuan per cubic meter for ground water.

Tariffs for drawing water under the ground are relatively low and the fees fluctuate in regions with similar water-resource and economic development status, the NDRC said. The government on Jan. 6 issued rules and set quotas for usage amounts to regulate the development of water resources for conservation and protection.

Two-thirds of Chinese cities lack water, with the national resource amount per capita equalling 28 percent of the average globally, China News reported Feb. 16, citing Hu Siyi, vice minister of the Ministry of Water Resources.

China will strictly control excessive exploration of ground water while it will support reasonable usage for agriculture, according to the statement. The nation will encourage recycling water resources.

The country will punish the exceeding of quotas or plans, at least doubling fees for excessive water usage.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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