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Water diversion helps clean lake
( 2002-03-02 11:17 ) (1 )

The nation's most polluted freshwater lake, Taihu Lake, is getting cleaned up with fresh water diverted from the country's longest river, the Yangtze.

The water diversion project, which kicked off officially at the end of January, has led to an improvement in the lake's water quality, sources with the Ministry of Water Resources told China Daily yesterday.

The project, a pilot tactic in the fight against water pollution, was undertaken with the co-operation of water authorities in East China's Shanghai Municipality and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

To date, up to 377 million cubic metres of water have been channeled from the Yangtze through the Wangting Water-Control Project, with 200 million cubic metres of water flowing into the lake, the latest statistics indicate.

The rest of the diverted water has gone to Suzhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu and Jiaxing and Huzhou in Zhejiang - China's most prosperous cities downstream from Taihu Lake - and Shanghai, China's largest commercial city.

The clean water from the Yangtze has been flushing dirty water out of the lake, and has begun benefiting 9,600 square kilometres of fertile land or about one-third of the total drainage area of Taihu Lake, experts say.

Water quality has been upgraded from level five, the worst level of pollution, to level two or three - the standard required for treated drinking water - in some local rivers downstream in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, according to the latest reports by local authorities.

The lake's water used to smell because of the worsening pollution caused by massive quantities of industrial waste water and domestic sewage directly dumped into the lake by cities and booming enterprises around the lake.

Under the water diversion plan, the Shanghai-based Taihu Water Authority will channel some 2.4 billion cubic metres of water from the Yangtze into the lake this year with 1 billion cubic metres flowing directly into the lake.

Liu Chunsheng, the water authority's top official, is confident the diversion operation will enhance the environmental quality of the overall water resources of the lake and improve the eco-system surrounding it.



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