A public meeting was held on Thursday to discuss changes to Beijing's multi-tier pricing mechanism for water, with agreement that prices will rise.
Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform published two plans on April 2. Both plans have three tiers.
According to the first plan, the price of water at the lowest tier will rise from 4 yuan per cubic meter to 4.95 yuan per cubic meter for a household with an annual water consumption less than 145 cubic meters, which covers 85 percent of households.
Households with an annual water consumption in the range of 146-260 cubic meters will be charged 7 yuan per cubic meter.
According to the second plan, the lowest tier water price will be 5 yuan per cubic meter for households with an annual water consumption less than 180 cubic meters, which covers 90 percent of households. Households with an annual water consumption in the range of 180-260 will be charged 7 yuan per cubic meter.
According to both plans, the water price for annual consumption beyond 260 cubic meters will jump to 9 yuan/cubic meter.
Twenty-five local legislators, political advisors, consumers and scholars attended the public hearing.
Seventeen of them voted for the second plan. Six of them agreed to the first plan, and another two proposed different plans.
Shi Shuying, one of the representatives from Fangshan district, said increasing the price of water aims to raise people's awareness about conserving water. She suggested the government fix the city's old pipelines to prevent leakages.
Beijing has been facing water shortages for a number of decades. The city has only 100 cubic meters of water available per person locally, or one-tenth of the United Nations' "danger threshold".