Think twice about taking that second shower, even on a 35-degree day. Beijing water prices are set to rise this month, but for once, individual consumers, who also use the smallest amount of water, will pay the least, and commercial users will see the biggest increases.

The price per cubic meter of water will rise from four yuan to five yuan, only a one yuan increase for residential users, whereas businesses like car washes and bath houses will be charged up to RMB 160 per cubic meter, Reuters reported. Golf courses and ski resorts will be charged the same. The report did not include the rates industrial users such as factories and power plants will pay.

The rates are still comparatively low, considering the scarcity of water available to Beijing. Beijing uses 3.6 billion cubic meters of water per year, the report said, with 100 cubic meters per person available, which is only 10 percent of the United Nations' standard for a "danger threshold," it said. 

Aquifers (underground water supplies) around Beijing are almost 13 meters lower than 1998 levels, the report said, which might explain why Beijing has the occasional sinkhole.

One cubic meter of water contains 1,000 liters (the metric system is so logical that way). An average consumer uses 35 liters of water when taking a shower. 

Photo: Fast Company

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