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Nation considers heavier water rates for businesses

TAIPEI -- Water authorities said Wednesday that they are mulling whether to require water-guzzling industries to pay higher rates during dry seasons to encourage conservation, as parts of southern Taiwan take measures to tighten water supplies.

The Water Resources Agency is planning to draft new laws to double the rates businesses will have to pay for water once they exceed a certain amount, according to Wang Yi-feng, an agency section chief.

The new regulations will be aimed at encouraging businesses to invest in water-saving equipment and will first target heavy users before expanding to also cover households, said Wang.

Wang said the agency is drawing on practices in Europe, Japan and China.

China charges 10 times the regular water fees for businesses that use excessive levels.

The agency is hoping to produce the draft this year and get it passed into law in the next two years.

The southern city of Tainan decided Tuesday to cut supplies of water at night in the face of lower-than-average rainfall since early this year, while the water level at a major reservoir supplying Chiayi City, also in the south of the country, has fallen to 30 percent of capacity.

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