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Diverted water to quench thirst
By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-02 06:00

ZHUHAI: Residents in Macao and Zhuhai are expected to get a more reliable supply of fresh drinking water in the next few days.

They have faced months of shortages due to salt tides in the Pearl River Delta region.

The residents will be saved by the country's largest water diversion project.

And by Friday, the salt levels of Macao's drinking water will be below the national standard of 250 parts per million (ppm), from the previous level of over 400 ppm, said Catarina Lio, communications officer of the Macao Water Supply Co Ltd (Macao Water).

Macao Water buys almost all of its fresh water, or 150,000 to 180,000 cubic metres per day, from the neighbouring mainland city of Zhuhai.

Liu Chenguang, deputy director of the Zhuhai Water Resources Bureau, in South China's Guangdong Province, says the diversion scheme intends to ensure drinking supplies to the Macao Special Administrative Region, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and other major cities in the Pearl River Delta during the Chinese lunar New Year, which begins on February 9.

Fresh water has been diverted from the Tianshenqiao Reservoir in Southwest China's Guizhou Province and the Yantan Reservoir in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region since the end of last month.

A total of 760 million cubic metres of water had travelled 1,336 kilometres all the way from the southwestern Chinese region to Zhuhai by Sunday.

The bulk of the water flowed through Zhuhai for four days to mix with the saline water and bring down the salt levels, before being flushed into the sea.

But 12 million cubic metres of fresh water will be stored in reservoirs for consumption in Macao and Zhuhai.

Combined with Zhuhai's original water reserves, the two cities will have 22 million cubic metres of fresh water - enough to support them for more than 40 days.

(China Daily 02/02/2005 page3)

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