The worst of the Wuxi water crisis appears to be over,
authorities said Friday night.
The tap water in Wuxi, rendered undrinkable earlier this week by
foul-smelling blue-green algae blanketing the Taihu Lake, has
improved "considerably" in quality, though it may take days for a
"Thanks to the concerted and strenuous efforts in the past few
days, the water quality has improved considerably," Mao Xiaoping,
mayor of Wuxi, said on Friday night.
An industrial city famed for centuries by its beauty in east
China's Jiangsu Province, Wuxi is coping with its
worst ever water crisis, after the rapidly-spreading algae heavily
tainted its water source, Taihu Lake.
Looking like green oil paint, the canopy of algae covered at
least 70 percent of the lake's surface.
Continuous high temperatures and a lack of rainfall since this
spring are mainly to blame for the blue-green algae outbreak,
The quality of the water, which became yellow-colored and putrid
on May 28, had improved by Friday.
Methods used to flush away the bloom included diverting water
from the Yangtze River, the nation's longest river, to dilute the
lake water, seeding clouds to bring rain, in addition to improving
water treatment techniques, Mao said.
The Ministry of Water Resources had requested the Taihu Lake
Valley Administration to double the frequency of quality monitoring
- to four times a day.
On Friday, Minister Chen Lei also urged the agency to work with
local government to help reduce pollutants being piped into the
Thirty-nine rockets containing silver iodide were fired at eight
different sites surrounding Taihu Lake on Thursday afternoon and
The operation induced moderate rain for most areas around the
lake and even heavy rain in some parts, a spokesman of the Jiangsu
Provincial Meteorological Station said.
In addition to the artificially induced rain, the city is
expected to have "remarkable rainfalls" in coming days, Zheng
Guoguang, chief of the China Meteorological Administration,
"Both the precipitations will help improve the scenario," he
told China Daily, adding Chinese meteorological satellites are also
keeping a close eye on the alga bloom.
Residents in the city have relied on bottled water for
consumption in the past few days.
The ample supplies of bottled water - some allocated from
neighboring cities as well as Shanghai and Zhejiang Province - have
helped quell public panic. But residents have been warned that they
may need to keep drinking bottled water for some time.
"Although quality of the water supply has improved significantly
on Friday and now it is safe for washing hands or clothes, it still
takes some time to become drinkable," Zhang Xiaojian, a professor
with Environmental Science and Engineering Department of the
Beijing-based Tsinghua University, said.
It will take some time before the residuals of the tainted water
in the pipelines are completely flushed out, said the professor, a
specialist invited by the municipal government to help deal with
the water supply crisis.
"It will be a long-term campaign to battle the algae crisis," he
(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2007)