Saturday 23 July 2011

Beijing diverts water from neighboring province to quench thirst

SHIJIAZHUANG, July 22 (Xinhua) -- A reservoir in north China's Hebei Province was opened on Thursday to send water to Beijing.

The Hebei provincial bureau of water resources said on Friday that the Huangbizhuang Reservoir will send 120 million cubic meters of water to the capital. The bureau will take the reservoir's water volume into consideration as it decides how much water it will send throughout the rest of the year.

The water supply is being diverted to Beijing through a 307-km-long water canal. The canal is part of the unfinished 1,400-km-long middle route of China's South-North Water Diversion Project, which is slated for completion in 2014.

This is the third time that Beijing has received water from the reservoir. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the city received 435 million cubic meters of water, accounting for 65 percent of the city's water consumption during the event.

With Beijing's permanent population approaching 20 million, the city's water crisis has become aggravated. Official figures suggest that the city's per capita water resource availability has dropped to 100 cubic meters a year, or one-tenth of the United Nations' "danger threshold."
Past water diversion efforts have helped to prevent the excessive exploitation of underground water during times of peak water consumption.

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