China’s capital raised the price of water Tuesday to help fight a worsening water shortage after nine years of droughts.
Beijing authorities said the water price for residential use will go up 8 percent, an increase that follows a jump of almost 50 percent in the price of water for nonresidential use last month, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
“The gap between water supply and demand is quite obvious,” said a statement posted Monday on the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.
It said Beijing has seen below average precipitation for nine out of the past 10 years.
China is already working on a massive project to divert billions of tons of water from its central, southern and western regions through pipes and canals to Beijing and other fast-growing northern cities.
Experts, however, say even that will not be enough to meet water needs and will cause environmental damage.
Authorities in mid-October started resettling 330,000 people in central China to make way for the project, which will move water along three routes.
The estimated $62 billion water diversion could be nearly three times as expensive as the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project.
The central route, due for completion by 2014, is expected to supply about a quarter of Beijing’s water.
Xinhua said the per capita water supply in Beijing is only 300 cubic meters, though the internationally recognized warning level is 1,000 cubic meters, according to government data.
Xinhua said other Chinese cities that have already raised water prices or plan to do so include Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Chongqing. Of those, Tianjin and Shenyang are located in the parched north.