What you need to know
Currently, Taiwanese people enjoy the cheapest water in Asia, with NT$9.2 charged per unit on average.
While President Tsai Ing-wen the public to conserve water in early March to weather the crisis, members of the Taiwan People’s Party in the Legislative Yuan suggested “solving the root of the water problem” and reexamining water distribution across the country.
“The wool comes from the sheep’s back,” Lai said. In Taiwan, “the taxpayers are now paying for the water that businesses waste due to its low price.”
According to a report by the Taiwan Water Corporation, Taiwan’s state-run water company, 5% of the users are responsible for 41% of the overall water consumption. The largest water users include TSMC, China Steel Corporation (Taiwan’s steel producer), and CPC Corporation (Taiwan’s state-owned petroleum company).
“For most civilians, who consume less than 20 units per month, a unit costs NT$7 to $9, but more industrial businesses, who consume more than 40,000 a month, a unit costs NT$12 — is a 3-dollar gap reasonable?”
With the price of water lower than the cost, “the more the Taiwan Water Corporation sells, the more it loses,” Lai said.
But experts also increasing the billing rate for everyone is inevitable. Currently, Taiwanese people enjoy the cheapest water in Asia, with NT$9.2 charged per unit on average. In neighboring Japan, a unit of water costs NT$49.6 on average.
Li Ken-cheng, CEO for the local environmentalist group Citizens of the Earth, said the bill should reflect the cost of producing water. He also supported the idea of taxing main water users.
“The government shouldn’t only talk about expanding the source of water,” Lee said. “The point is to economize.” He suggested building wastewater treatment plants to be the best solution.
Tsai Pi-ru, a TPP legislator, believes the government should continue developing new sources of water, but it also has to raise the price of water, which will incentivize people to set up water conservation systems, such as water reclamation facilities.
TPP lawmakers said Taiwan’s government should take preemptive measures to prevent water shortages from becoming “the new normal.”
TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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