Water bills creeping higher, aging pipes, population decline to blame

TOKYO, Sep 28 (News On Japan) - While escalating energy costs have been grabbing headlines in Japan, water supply charges are rising nationwide, with some predicting a "tenfold" increase due to aging water pipes.

Japan is faced with the enormous cost of replacing aging water infrastructure, estimated at over 150 billion yen over the next 40 years, while at the same time a shrinking population and water saving devices are cutting revenues.

An official from Ishinomaki Regional Water Supply Corporation said the designated service life of a water pipe is 40 years although the existing pipes were laid in 1973.

Since many water pipes were constructed during a period of high economic growth, they have far exceeded their designated service life.

In Ishinomaki and the neighboring city of Higashi-Matsushima alone, there are approximately 600 kilometers of aging water pipes.

Furthermore, water purification plants are also aging.

Regional water supply corporations estimate that they will need a colossal 154.3 billion yen over the next 40 years.

Apart from aging infrastructure, there is also a serious issue of declining water revenue.

With a decreasing population, fewer people use water which means a reduction in sales for water service providers.