Taipei water prices are set to rise over the next three years, following a meeting between officials from the city government and the Ministry of Economic Affairs last night.
“We hope to address the issue in stages over the next three years,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said. “In principle, larger rate discrimination will be drafted to protect users of drinking water, while increasing rates for heavy users.”
At NT$8 per metric tonne, Taipei’s water rate is currently NT$2 cheaper than the rest of the nation and has remained unchanged for 21 years.
Indirect subsidies are the reason for Taipei’s lower rate, Taipei Water Department Commissioner Chen Chin-hsiang (陳錦祥) said.
The city government does not include the cost of administering the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) in calculations of water rates, he said.
However, with plans calling for an expansion of the area for which the city government is responsible, reservoir administration costs will be included in its future calculations to avoid subsidizing residents of other municipalities, he added.
Taipei is the only city that has an autonomous water department, with water to other municipalities and counties provided by the central government.
Staggering the implementation of price hikes was necessary to give affected industrial users time to prepare for increased rates by investing in water-recycling equipment, Chen said.
Taipei will continue to replace water pipes over the next several years with a goal of reducing the water-leakage rate to 10 percent, he said, adding that Taipei is not facing a water shortage because leak-resistant pipes account for more than half of the pipe network.
New pipes have caused the city’s water-leakage rate to fall from 28.44 percent in 2002 to 16.7 percent, saving 144 million metric tonnes of water, or 40 percent of the volume of the Feitsui Reservoir, every year, he said.