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The shortage of drinking water has long been a threat to the development and future of country's capital, but a recent report suggests turning seawater into fresh water could turn the tide to an old problem in Beijing.
The cost of desalinating sea water - to make it safe to drink - is expensive, Guangzhou Daily reported Tuesday, and along with the construction of the required pipeline the investment would equate to a minimum price of seven to eight yuan, roughly one US dollar, per ton.
Ruan Guoling, an expert of the National Bureau of Oceanography, suggests the government should give price subsidies to introduce desalinated water to residents in Beijing. He said desalinated water tastes no different to normal purified water.
A desalination seawater plant was put into operation in the seaside city of Tangshan, about 260 km southeast of Beijing. Others exist elsewhere in the world. The plant is able to put out 50,000 tons of desalinated seawater each day, but a plant this size could not meet the need for drinking water in Beijing.
"It takes three to four such water projects to form a desalinated seawater supply network," Ruan said, "Beijingers may have to wait two or three years to get access to it."
An unnamed official from the National Development and Reform Commission told the paper the outcome of the research still cannot be directly transformed to industrial output in China now. It still needs time to study the research-output process.