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Shanghai Sets Goal for Best Drinking Water in World
The quality of drinking water in Shanghai will meet European Union standards by 2010 and, a decade later, citizens in Shanghai will drink the best water in the world.

These were the goals set out by the Shanghai Water Authority. With the city's population expected to increase only marginally and the economy to boom by 2020, Chen Yin, an official with the water authority, claimed Shanghai's water consumption will not increase from its present volume.

Zhang Yue, director of the Urban Construction Division under the Ministry of Construction, said: "Shanghai is the first city in the country to publicize these ambitions. They will not be easy to achieve."

Zhang is a member of the enquiry team sent by the central government to examine the city's qualification to be ranked as one of the first batch of water-saving cities in the country.

He said attaching strategic importance to water saving will help guarantee the sustainable development of China's economy.

Saving one cubic meter of water means saving the city's infrastructure costs by 10,000 yuan (US$1,2000). Last year, Shanghai saved 300 million cubic meters of water either from readjustment of industrial structure or the employment of new technology.

"The core is to arouse public awareness of the seriousness of water shortages," Chen said. "The abundant surface water and precipitation of the city are so misleading that they result in improper use of water."

Shanghai lacks drinkable water. The Huangpu River, which supplies 80 percent of the city's drinkable water, is nearing exhaustion.

The city, therefore, has been exploring new sources from the Yangtze River and growing forests along it to conserve quality water.

Besides penning regulations, the authority is popularizing technology among the public to efficiently cut the amount of water used.

At present, the city has 600,000 family toilets, each using 13 liters of water per flush. These are to be renovated to use only 9 liters of water per flush.

The authority is renovating the first 200 toilets for households - at a cost of 40 yuan (US$4.8) each.

In three years, all the toilets will be renovated, which saves the city nearly 15 million yuan (US$1.82 million) annually in water conservation.

Another task the city is engaged in is the treatment of sewage to improve the water environment.

At present the city can only treat 44 percent of its daily 5.04 million tons of waste water. To meet the total demand, 27 more sewage treatment factories are to be established with an estimated investment of 18 billion yuan (US$2.18 billion).

(China Daily June 10, 2002)

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