Jeju homeowners are expected to see a large increase in their water bill beginning October.
Some people are voicing concern that the rise in water fees is inappropriate during the pandemic. Mike Laidman reports.
Jeju Province recently submitted a revision of an ordinance bill to the provincial council concerning the raising of water prices.
The revised bill includes a proposed 10.8 percent increase in water and 30.5 percent increase in sewage costs beginning in October.
The same price increase has been proposed for not only this year, but also for 2023 and 2025.
This means that homeowners who are currently paying 470 won per ton of water will have to pay 520 won beginning this October, rising to 640 won per ton from 2025.
That adds up to a 36 percent increase over the coming four years.
Sewage fees, which currently sit at 420 won per ton, will increase to 550 won per ton this October, finally settling at 940 won per ton in 2025.
The price hike is not limited to just private residences either, but includes offices, factories and public bath houses.
Same increase for offices, factories/farms, public bath houses
The existing progressive rate system for households will be reorganized into a single rate system.
The province says that the water bill increase is a must to halt constant water-related revenue losses and to invest in new water management facilities.
But critics of the proposed plan say the province is shifting its responsibility to the public at a time when the local economy is still in turmoil due to the pandemic.
The water loss percentage in Jeju is 41.1 percent. That’s more than four times the national average of only 10 percent.
Meanwhile, Jeju’s the revenue water ratio, a criterion for water management efficiency, increased just 3.2 percentage points in 2020, to 48.9, from 45.7 in 2016.
Kang Seoung-euy / Provincial councilor
Our water ratio revenue is under 50%. That means half of all our treated water is lost within the waterworks system. Passing the costs to the public with the increased rates is a burden, especially during the pandemic.
<인터뷰 : 강성의 / 제주도의회 환경도시위원장>
"유수율 자체가 50%를 넘지 못하는 상황은 생산량의 절반이 그냥 버려지는 상황이기 때문에 그 비용조차 도민들이 부담해야 하는 부분은 지금 코로나19 시대에 힘든 서민들에게 부담을 주는 인상폭인 것 같습니다."
The revision to the ordinance bill will be dealt with at a special session of the provincial council, beginning next Wednesday, July 14th.
Mike Laidman, KCTV