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China will raise water prices in the next five years to ease a shortage, curb wasteful use and better reflect the cost of delivery, the China Daily reported.
China will introduce a price scale based on what water is used for, as well as its origin, quality and amount used, the report said, quoting Chen Lei, director of the Ministry of Water resources Department of Planning and Programming. No details were given on the new prices.
The government said 1,000 metric tons of water taken from the Yellow River costs the same as a bottle of mineral water and this price structure has led to inefficient use, according to the report.
Water to irrigate farmland accounts for more than 70 percent of China's water use today, though unrestrained use by industries such as chemical, iron and steel sectors has also contributed to China's shortage, the report said.
China plans to cap the annual rate of growth for industrial water consumption at 1.2 percent for the next five years, though by 2010, China's annual water demand is still expected to reach 699 billion cubic meters of water, exceeding expected supply by 32 billion cubic meters.