Water samples on project suitable for drinking

By Wu Wencong ( ) Updated: 2013-12-19 21:24:50

Water samples collected from the eastern and middle routes of the South-North Water Diversion Project showed that the water is suitable for drinking and other uses, an inspection released by the Environmental Protection Ministry showed.

The inspection, released on Dec 19, showed a 100-percent qualified rate for the eastern route, and an 82-percent qualified rate for the middle one.

"Though being qualified overall, the water quality still holds hidden dangers both from the water source reservoirs and along the routes," said Wang Dongqing, deputy director of the ministry's environmental supervision bureau.

From July to September, three inspection centers affiliated with the ministry, together with environmental departments from five provinces along the routes — Jiangsu, Shandong, Henan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces — conducted the inspections to try to eliminate potential dangers in the water.

The inspection focused on the progress of water pollution-control projects within the region, the discharge of pollutants by local enterprises and water quality.

A major problem discovered is the slow progress of the pollution control projects along the middle route of the South-North Water Diversion Project, Wang said.

He said that of the 474 pollution control projects that are scheduled to be finished by the end of 2015, only about 10 percent were finished and about 3 percent were functioning. He added that these projects are mainly sewage-treatment plants planned for towns and villages along the diversion waterway, which will benefit the water quality in the long run.

Wang said although some of the projects may be postponed for some time, most of them should be finished as planned before 2016.

"Assessment of the completion of these pollution control projects will be reported to the State Council, which may affect the political future of local governmental officials if they fail to complete the work in time and as required," he said.

The inspection team also found 15 enterprises of the total 95 checked during the three-month campaign were discharging more pollutants into local rivers than allowed.

These companies have received punishments such as fines and halt of production from local environmental departments, Wang said.

The South-North Water Diversion Project, which began in 2002 with three routes, is designed to take water from China's longest river, the Yangtze River, to dry areas in the north, including Beijing.

The eastern route has been delivering water since 2012, and the middle one, which heads toward Beijing, will run a water-transfer trial after the 2014 flood season.

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