The Hong Kong government has signed a three-year water supply deal worth HK$13.5 billion (US$1.74 billion) with the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Under the deal, Guangdong will supply 820 million cubic meters of Dongjiang River water to Hong Kong every year from 2015 to 2017, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
Hong Kong has agreed to an annual increase of 6.5 percent in water prices paid to Guangdong each year, according to the report.
The government will complete a review of the current water rate before the end of year, but has not yet decided whether to raise the user charges which had been kept unchanged for 19 years, the paper said.
Due to the low tariff, the city’s Water Supplies Department had been suffering losses for years. The losses are expected to widen further over the next three years thanks to the purchase costs from Guangdong, the report noted.
Dr Man Chi-sum, a member of the Advisory Committee on Water Resources and Quality of Water Supplies, was quoted as saying that low tariff leads to water wastage. He recommends a hike in fees to encourage water-saving.
In other comments, he said the government needs to expand its water supplies, through initiatives such as seawater desalination, in order to enhance its bargaining power in purchase deals.
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