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Beijingers will pay more for water

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[Beijing, September 6, 2003] The Beijing government has decided to raise the price of municipal water to discourage wasteful water usage. Niu Youcheng, Deputy Mayor of Beijing, admits that the main problem Beijing faces now is inefficient management of water resources exacerbated by water pollution. Water-saving policies are not consistently implemented, and users such as carwashes and public bathhouses are not well managed. Water pollution continues to be a critical problem in Beijing, as in some places unprocessed municipal sewage is directly discharged into rivers or seeps into ground water. Pollutants from landfills also migrate into lakes and rivers, and sometimes into ground water.

One of the water-saving policies the Beijing government adopted this year is increasing the price of water. Water’s price is expected to rise by about 25%. In addition, government offices, schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers are required to install water-saving faucets and toilets. All newly constructed buildings must include sewage processing and rainwater reuse facilities. Sanitary and storm sewers have to be separated. Carwashes and public bathhouses will be closely monitored to ensure permits are issued and water is properly processed for reuse. Hotels rated at three stars or less must close all swimming pools. The government also plans to continue to raise water prices, including water usage and sewage processing fees

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