Vietnam: law to increase freshwater ceiling prices in the cities by 50 %

HA NOI — Water prices are to go up by 50 per cent from July 11, under the Ministry of Finance’s Circular 88.

The ceiling water price in urban zones would be increased to VND18,000 (US$8.6) per cubic metre while in rural areas it was increased from the current VND8,000 ($0.38) to VND11,000 ($5.30).

Based on the water pricing framework, municipal and provincial people’s committees would decide the water prices to be applied in their localities.

Nguyen Thuy Linh, who was now living with her older sister in Ha Noi, said her family paid around VND100,000 ($4.80) per month for their water. If the water price was increased by 50 per cent, the amount might be VND150,000 ($7.20).

“It is still not much,” she said.

Linh added that the water price increase would have more of an impact on big families which consumed a large amount of water.

Meanwhile, a student of Viet Nam National University, Ha Noi, said he worried that his host would increase the water price which was fixed at VND60,000 ($2.80) per month. “It is high for a student like me.”

Last month, the Ha Noi Water Company proposed to the municipal People’s Committee to increase the water price by 35 per cent, due to a loss of VND32 billion ($1.53 million) during the first four month of this year.

Company director Nguyen Nhu Hai said the current prices of water were low and did not cover water production costs and the installation of pipes and meters. The low water prices also made it difficult to attract investment and encourage consumers to save water, he said.

In a previous interview with Viet Nam News, Koos Neefjes, the United Nations Development Programme’s policy advisor on climate change, said water in Viet Nam was extremely cheap compared to other countries.

He added that without the necessary financial resources, water companies would not be able to invest in new pipes to prevent water losses.

Meanwhile, Dang Van Khoa, former delegate of HCM City People’s Council, said it was unreasonable to factor a water loss of up to 29 per cent into the water price, quoted Thanh Nien (Youth) newspaper. Water companies should try to reduce their water losses rather than to keep increasing water prices.

According to statistics of Ha Noi Water Company, the current rate of water loss was about 30 per cent. The company planned to reduce the rate to 25 per cent by 2015 and 18 per cent by 2020. — VNS


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