In case you missed this Wall Street Journal report yesterday: “To Conserve Water, China Raises Prices for Top Users.”
It’s worth noting that China is merely raising its comparatively low water rates, and mainly for those who use the most water. It’s a new, three-tiered pricing structure, announced Friday, that is part of larger plan to restructure utility pricing nationwide. The water rates are considered low because they amount to 0.5% of disposable income. By comparison, Australia’s rates are 8.6%, Japan’s are 2.9%, the U.S.’s are 2.8%, and South Korea’s are 1.3%.
Note, also, that most people in China don’t drink tap water. They drink bottled water. I was amazed to be told of this and witness it when I visited Beijing and Yunnan Province in 2012. That’s more than a billion people filling landfills and that huge Pacific Ocean garbage patch with plastic. Experts say the new pricing structure is likely a precursor to upgraded drinking water standards in the country, which, with new investment in infrastructure, could be in place as soon as 2015, according to the WSJ report.