By Karlie Lin, Special to The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, �g�ٳ�) announced yesterday that it will impose higher water rates on users whose water consumption is more than 1,000 cubic meters starting next year. According to the MOEA, the new rule will affect 5,885 water users who will have to pick up an extra 10 to 30 percent water rate in addition to standard fees. The reservation policy has been moved up to take effect January 2016. Due to the serious drought condition seen in Taiwan this year, there are now more than 40,000 hectares of farmland nationwide lying fallow, which has led to widespread complaints from farmers. Legislators suggested additional water consumption rates should be imposed immediately. Economics Minister Deng Chen-chung (�H����) promised yesterday that new regulations will be sent to the Legislature after Chinese New Year. According to the draft, additional water rates will be charged on three different levels: for those who use between 1,000 to 3,000 cubic meters of water, the extra rate will be 10 percent; for those use between 3,001 to 6,000 units, the added rate will be 20 percent; and for those whose water consumption is more than 6,001 cubic meters, the extra charge will be 30 percent. The MOEA said the new rates will not affect general households, but instead only those who utilize large amounts of water; profit-oriented businesses will be the first to see the increased rates. For those who focus on water-saving and recycling efforts, the rate may be reduced by up to 60 percent, the MOEA said.
According to statistics from 2014, 5,886 users utilize more than 1,000 cubic meters every month, totaling around 725 million cubic meters a year. This adds up to around 26.1 percent of total domestic water consumption. Industries such as steel, petrochemicals and electronics are on the list of major consumers. The Water Resources Agency estimated that the extra water rates will generate about NT$600 million to NT$1.6 billion in tax revenue, which will be used on water resource protection, compensation of fallow land, and promotion of water rationing. Gasoline Prices to Drop Affected by the reduction in international crude oil prices, domestic gasoline prices could fall NT$0.1 per liter next week, with new prices set at NT$23.6 per liter for 95 unleaded gasoline. According to CPC Corp. (���o), the price of natural gas has fallen for the third straight month and there will be a NT$1 decline per cubic meter next week. On the other hand, the price of liquefied petroleum gas (bottled gas) will rise by NT$12 per barrel starting next week.