Posted August. 25, 2008 08:29,
The private sector will manage the tap water system and provincial governments will integrate their water systems, the ruling camp said yesterday.
Grand National Party spokesman Cha Myung-jin said, The government and the party at a recent meeting at the National Assembly decided to propose a bill to improve and strengthen tap water service. Commissioning the private sector to run the service will be the main concern and the bill will be passed in a regular parliamentary session after signing notice legislation in September.
The bill contains measures to commission water service and management to the private sector, establish a water service public corporation under each provincial government and allow each provincial body to choose a direct management system.
Cha said, Provincial governments can run a direct management system if the number of service beneficiaries is above 300,000 like Seoul. With the introduction of the new bill, however, those with a small number of beneficiaries that do not qualify for the direct management system can integrate their services and commission the private sector to run and manage it.
The Environment Ministry is reviewing measures to expand integration of water service by categorizing 164 provincial governments providing water service into those with ample water resources and those without. Consolidation will reduce their number to 60 or so.
The party`s chief policy-maker Yim Tae-hee said, Just as the government commissions the private sector to manage environmental operations such as collecting waste, the idea here is to allow the public sector to decide on the price of the water supply while the private sector receives a commission to make a profit. This is to enhance the quality of public service but is completely different from outright privatization of water service.
The government originally reviewed measures to allow the private sector to own more than half of water services, but the plan was scrapped for fear of having it mistake for privatization.
The government and the ruling camp have also reviewed measures to spin off 100 state-run corporations among 300 up for privatization and commission the private sector to run the rest. The government, however, would still maintain ownership just like the water service.