In response to the allegations recently made by Councilman Yang Keun-suh of the Provincial Council of Gyeonggi Province, the OB Brewery Co. (OBC) has recently issued a statement refuting Yang’s statements.
“We have never neglected fulfilling our duty or responsibility in connection with our use of water,” said OBC Spokesman Joseph Byun.
OBC, according to Byun, made large-scale investments in the construction of water-processing facilities and installing equipment and supplied water free of charge to the local people for drinking and residential use when the portable water infrastructure was not adequate in the past. Excerpts from the OB elucidation follow:
The OBC Icheon Plant obtained permission and license from the competent government authorities in 1979 for the use of water and river and since then the company has renewed and extended the license in accordance with the provisions of the related laws. All these years, the OBC has never received any notice or water bill from the competent authorities.
The Korea Water Resources Corporation issues water bills according to the provisions of the Law on the Dam Construction and the Resources of the Adjoining Region (AKA Dam Construction Law). However, OBC has been exempted from the responsibility of payment of the water bill because the company started using the water before the construction of the Chungju Dam in 1986.
The OBC Icheon Plant constructed its own water intake, pumping facilities and water purification site in 1979 by investing its own fund totaling tens of billions of Won, which included a total of 18 linear kilometers of water pipe lines. The Company has also been using billions of Won every year in properly maintaining these facilities. The OBC has been continuously making large investments in connection with the use of water.
In those days, the potable water infrastructure in Korea was in a very poor state and the OBC supplied water to the people living in the area free of charge for drinking and residential use and thereby contributed to the well-being of the local community. For this reason, the competent authorities might have exempted the OBC from the payment responsibility for the water it use--out of consideration for the OBC’s contributions made to the local community.
The allegation that the OBC received benefits valued at 7.7 billion Won in disregard of such contributions made by the Company does not appear to be fully justified. In many regions, even at this very moment, local residents suffer from the shortage of water due to inadequate water processing infrastructure and against this backdrop it might not stand to reason to assert that a business company used water ‘free of charge’ when it actually used an enormous amount of money for the construction and installation of equipment and facilities to obtain water from the river. If a business company could obtain water through the use of public water infrastructure, it would be a great benefit to the company.
The OBC Icheon Plant, out of respect for the administrative procedures of the competent government authorities, has paid the entire amount of water bill in advance of the payment deadline. The OBC, in cooperation with the competent government authorities, will try to examine the existence of justification in issuing the water bill to the OBC and also in the accuracy of the amount charged.
The OBC fully respects the policies and intention of the central and local government authorities for the proper management of water resources, and will do its best to be a model enterprise in fully abiding by the law and regulations under any circumstances.