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Project to increase Beijing's water supply
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-19 01:35

A groundwater project, which may provide Beijingers with 100 million cubic metres annually, has just been completed on the northeastern outskirts of the capital, according to the Beijing Urban Construction Company.

The project is one of the major efforts to quench the thirst for water in the city, whose water availability per capita is just one-32nd of the international average level.

A similar project, located in Zhangfang, Fangshan District on the southwestern outskirts of Beijing, was also finished early this month, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The Zhangfang project will take the place of the Miyun Reservoir, Beijing's lifeline, in supplying to the water-guzzling Yanshan Petrochemical Co Ltd, says the report.

Facing the several years of droughts in a row, Beijing decided last year to find new water sources to cope with the soaring demand from the expanding population and industry.

The first groundwater project, located in Huairou District, was finished last September, providing the city with 330,000 cubic metres every day, according to the Beijing Water Bureau.

Apart from these finished projects, works to divert water from four reservoirs in neighbouring Hebei Province was started in December last year and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2006, says the bureau.

When workers are busy drawing groundwater to meet the shortfall of water supply, local meteorologists are watching each passing cloud with excitement as experts contemplate new methods of artificially creating rain.

Beijingers have witnessed more artificial rainfall than ever before.

During the first half of this year, 16 flights were made, 429 rockets launched and 1,931 anti-aircraft artillery shells fired to seed clouds with dry ice.

Zhang Qiang, vice-head of the office in charge of artificially creating rain, said more than 12 per cent of the artificial precipitation during the first half of the year were made at a cost of 0.2 yuan (2 US cents) per cubic metre.

Nature also helped a lot quench the city's thirst this summer.

Between July 20 and August 10, the city witnessed 108 millimetres of rainfall. There was only 32 millimetres in the same period last year, according to the city's flood control and drought relief headquarters.

Thanks to the rainfall, the Miyuan Reservoir has been replenished with 95 million cubic metres of water in the high-water season, which helped stop the fall of the reservoir's water level.

Although most Beijing residents feel they have witnessed rainfall more frequently than before, statistics show the precipitation during the flood season this year is still less than normal.

The headquarters warned people that the city's shortage of water has not been tackled at its root and it remains an urgent task to save water.

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