Shanghai is chaotic, overcrowded, overbuilt and clogged with traffic. It is after all, one of Asia's most exuberant cities. Unfortunately for the city and its many occupants, the drinking water quality is low. But now the Shanghai government will renovate the water supply facilities in residences built before 2000 in the city's central area.

Water tanks on the top of these buildings will be rebuilt and airproofed to avoid contamination. The current iron pipes which easily rust and pollute the water source, will be replaced by PVC pipes. 

"This more environmentally-friendly material will provide the local families with a higher quality tap-water," says a representative of the Shanghai Water Authority, Zhang Jiayi.

All the renovations are scheduled to finish before 2010. The Shanghai government will also implement specific measures to raise water fees and thereby encourage water conservation. Volumetric pricing is a tiered pricing system and is used in Tokyo as well as in 12 other Chinese cities including Nanjing and Shenzhen. It charges high volume water users higher fees compared to low volume users. Hence the appeal for conservation! The new pricing system will impose three different rates on a family's annual consumption - below 180 cubic meters, between 180 and 300 cubic meters and above 300 cubic meters.

For high consumption industrial users, such as beverage firms, car-washing companies and sauna houses, the price of water may double. 

Most of the money raised from the price increases will go towards financing the construction of one the city's water sources - the Qingcaosha area at the mouth of the Yangtze River. 

Facts

With a total population of 14.86 million, Shanghai has an average of 24,806 people per square kilometre in the downtown area
 
As the most urbanized metropolis on the Chinese mainland, the land of the coastal city Shanghai now boasts more than 2,000 high-rise buildings of at least 100 metres tall in its 600 square kilometre central area

Source of information: Shanghai Daily August 3, 2006