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Da Nang to increase water rates to slow rising demand

Da Nang City is set to substantially raise the price of clean water at the beginning of next year, with new costs as high as double the current rates, the municipal administration has said.

They have taken the decision to cope with the higher demand for water.

The new prices will be based on consumption levels and also vary by region.

Under the new pricing structure, the cost of tap water supplied by the Da Nang Water Supply Water Company (DAWACO) and Sai Gon-Da Nang Investment Joint Stock Company for a rural family using less than 10 cubic metres is to increase to VND2,950 (USmodule_ussslot1_2_1_2_1_data.14) per cubic metre, an increase of 34.1 per cent.

For urban users, the cost will rise to VND3,700 (module_ussslot1_2_1_2_1_data.17), which is an increase of 50.4 per cent.

For those who use between 10 and 30 cubic metres per month, the price will increase to VND3,500 (module_ussslot1_2_1_2_1_data.16) per cubic metres in rural areas and VND4,400 (module_ussslot1_2_1_2_1_data.2) per cubic metre in urban areas.

This means increases of 59.1 and 78.8 per cent for those two groups.

The price of tap water for a rural family using more than 30 cubic metres will be VND4,300 per cubic metre, an increase of 95.4 per cent. For urban users, the price will be VND5,400 per cubic metre, an increase of 120 per cent. These prices will vary from region to region.

At the moment, water prices range from VND2,700 to VND8,000 per cubic metre. The current water price was set in 2004.

Mai Thi Le, an immigrant worker in Da Nang City, said her life had become much harder with the cost of goods rapidly increasing in the run up to the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

"The landlord said the water price would increase 50 per cent next month. I share a room with three girls, yet the current water cost is already about VND100,000 ($4.7) per month," Le said.

Vice chairman of the municipal People's Council Vo Duy Khuong said that the water price increases were legal; however, it was very sudden for local residents.

Nguyen Truong Anh, director of DAWACO, the key supplier of tap water in Da Nang City, said the increase would help the company compensate for water production losses over the last six years.

"The current price doesn't include additional fees for environmental taxes, drainage exploitation and equipment system installation. Then there are the increasing electricity costs and the cleaning chemicals we need," Anh said.

In recent years, the city authority has compensated the water companies to the tune of VND40 billion ($2.04 million) per year.

Anh also said that the company would improve its service quality, including installing water readers free of charge for those who were yet to connect up to the system.

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