Cairo - The Egyptian government has increased the prices of drinking water and sewage fees up to 50% as part of an extensive economic reforms program aimed at closing the budget deficit.The decision reported on Thursday goes into effect in August. The hike saves L.E. 1 billion in subsidies, said Mohi el-Serafi, spokesperson of the country's water and sewage agency.Egyptians will be paying between L.E. 00.30 and L.E. 00.45 for the consumption of up to 10 cubic meters of water and from L.E. 00.70 to L.E. 1.20 for up to 20 cubic meters.Egypt is taking steps to reform its economy including flotation of the currency. The measures meet demands by the International Monetary Fund, which secured a $12bn bailout loan to Egypt.