Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 4 News List

No increase to water rates for a year

By Su Chin-feng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan Water Corp chairman Kuo Chun-ming (郭俊銘) on Wednesday said there will be no increase in the cost of water in the coming year.

Kuo made the announcement at a news conference following a handover ceremony.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) presided over the event in which former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Kuo formally took over as head of the public utility.

Kuo said that this year’s rainfall has been sufficient, adding that he hopes typhoons will not make landfall for the remainder of the year or that excessive rainfall disrupts operations.

Although no water rate increases are expected over the next 12 months, Kuo said the public should still try to conserve water.

Kou said that he and Yang held official discussions about projects to maintain the quality of the water supply and protect sources that would involve the Water Resources Agency, the Environmental Protection Administration and the Council of Agriculture.

“Public awareness about the importance of environmental protection is still the best way to protect the nation’s water supply, which Taiwan Water depends on to provide high-quality water in sufficient quantities,” he said.

As for the discrepancy between water prices in Taipei and the rest of the nation, Kuo said that the Taipei City Government has adjusted its water rates to the national standard, but Taiwan has two water-supply systems and a non-partisan majority of lawmakers in the legislature support the measures to merge the two.

However, Kuo described merging the Taipei Water Department with Taiwan Water Corp as a “highly intricate process” and promised to respect the Taipei City Government and City Council in carrying out the operation, adding that he is to meet Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to discuss excess water from the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫).

“We hope that the excess water could be connected to New Taipei City and Taoyuan County to stabilize supplies in the north, which is highly significant,” Kuo said.

Taiwan’s water rates are the third-lowest among nations that have national water infrastructure, Kuo said, adding that there has been no increase in about 23 years and no new sources of potable water are available.

Improving the efficiency of water pipelines will play an important role in ensuring continued water supply, Kuo said.

Although the public and the government are both wary of higher water rates, Kuo said that improving the quality and quantity of water “depends on raising funds for the replacement of aging infrastructure,” adding that the public and elected officials need to support increasing water prices.

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