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Revised water supply law needs regional support to flow smoothly

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The Upper House has passed a revision to the water supply law to enhance the foundation for the operations of municipal water services, paving the way for enactment during the current Diet session.

A supply of water is vital for living. But consumption of running water in Japan is declining due mainly to the nation’s shrinking population, putting financial burdens on the cities and towns operating local water systems.

Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly more urgent to renew the aging waterworks built during the era of Japan’s rapid economic growth decades ago and to bolster the earthquake resistance of the facilities.

To maintain systems for a safe and stable water supply by overcoming the challenges, the revision to the law should catalyze a major reform of the way the water supply is managed and operated.

The component of the bill that has become the main bone of contention is a provision to introduce a new “concession” approach to operating the supply of water. The concession formula will allow local governments to sell the rights to operate water........

© The Asahi Shimbun