Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Lawmakers back proposal for water conservation fees

SAVERS SAVE The water resources chief said about 60 percent of the population won't face increased water bills, but larger users will

STAFF WRITER AND AGENCY

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Tap Water Law (自來水法) authorizing the Ministry of Economic Affairs to charge the public a fee for water resource conservation.

According to Chen Sheng-hsien (陳伸賢), director of the Water Resources Agency (WRA, 水利署) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the agency will consult with other agencies to determine new water prices.

Conclusions reached at these discussions were expected to be presented to the Executive Yuan before the end of this month, and final decisions on prices are expected to be made next month.

Saying that a water quality and service improvement program should be presented in conjunction with the water pricing decision, Chen estimated that these changes can be implemented next year at the earliest.

Chen predicted that water prices will rise by at least 30 percent.

As there still will be a preferential rate for those customers who consume less than a certain quantity of water, Chen said that some 60 percent of the population will not be affected by price increases.

According to the amendment, public enterprises located in the water conservation area would need to pay an additional 5 percent to 15 percent.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) said the amendment would help establish a "reward mechanism" for water conservation efforts.

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