Yellow River diverted for Olympics
Updated: 2006-07-06 15:19 Beijing may divert water from the Yellow River to
guarantee water supply during the 2008 Olympics, a Chinese newspaper said on
Thursday, as the world's driest major city ponders how to slake the thirst of
2.5 million extra people.
In May, Chinese environmental officials warned that Beijing in 2008 would
face a water shortage of up to 1.1 billion cubic metres if current trends
Beijing would need an extra 5.75 million cubic metres of water to supply an
estimated 2.5 million Olympic visitors, the Beijing News said.
Beijing is currently suffering its worst drought in 50 years. From 1999 to
2005, rainfall was down 25 percent on average levels, a Beijing water authority
spokesman said on Thursday.
State media said last year that vast stretches of the Yellow River, which
supplies water to 12 percent of China's 1.3 billion people and 15 percent of its
farmland, were so polluted it was unsafe for drinking or swimming.
China's longest river, the Yangtze, was "cancerous" with pollution, state
media said in May.
Beijing authorities are also under pressure to protect the capital's "Green
Olympics" from sandstorms and enduring poor air quality.