China Aims to Curb Water Use in Cities With Progressive Pricing

Jan 03, 2014 5:31 am ET

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s most populous nation, called on cities to scale charges for water based on consumption by the end of 2015 to conserve the vital resource.

The National Development and Reform Commission said local governments should set at least three tiers of water prices, according to a statement on its website today. Areas facing water shortage should implement bigger price increases with usage, the NDRC said.

Rapid urbanization in China has put pressure on resources such as water, land and oil. China’s leaders pledged at a November gathering to speed up urbanization as part of policies that represent the biggest expansion of economic freedoms since at least the 1990s. The country’s urban population surpassed that of rural areas for the first time in the country’s history in 2011.

Eighty percent of residential households’ monthly average water use should be priced at the first tier, the nation’s top economic planner said. Second-tier prices should be at least 1.5 times higher with third-tier prices doubling from that level.

--Feifei Shen. Editors: Gregory Turk, Nicholas Wadhams