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Shanghai plans to tap Yangtze for water
Updated: 2004-04-18 08:39

Shanghai is planning to increase water usage from the Yangtze River to improve tap water quality and ensure there are no shortages, officials with the Shanghai Water Authority revealed yesterday.

A huge reservoir with a designed holding capacity of 14 million cubic meters will be built on the banks of the Yangtze. Pipelines to transport water to treatment plants will also be laid, but the length hasn't been decided as concrete plans are still to be worked out.

With a total investment of about 2.3 billion yuan (US$277 million), the project is now waiting for final approval from the city government.

If approved, construction would start this year and finish by 2007. About 900,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day would flow into treatment plants and be prepared for the thirsty city.

"The project will largely improve the city's water capacity and help resolve the supply shortfall," said an unnamed official with the water authority.

Six local water plants depend on the Yangtze, which already provides up to 1.3 million cubic meters daily from an existing reservoir.

Still, the plants require up to 1.8 million cubic meters each day.

The shortfall is made worse by salt tides, which push sea water into the mouth of the Yangtze from the East China Sea every year when the sea water level is higher than the Yangtze.

The Chenhang Reservoir on the banks of China's longest river, with a holding capacity of 8.3 million cubic meters, can only provide six days of water to plants during the salt tide.

Last month, the water level in the Chenhang Reservoir was at a record low due to an unusually long lasting salt tide, forcing Shanghai Waterworks Shibei Co - partly dependent on the Yangtze - to ask Shanghai Waterworks South Co for a transfer of tap water.

The planned reservoir will also help reduce the city's reliance on the Huangpu River, which already is at maximum capacity, officials said.

About 80 percent of the city's fresh water comes from the Huangpu, but water quality has deteriorated because of pollution.

By 2020, half of the city's 14 million cubic meters of tap water will come from the Yangtze, according to the water authority.

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