Beijing has been collecting 1 million cubic meters of rain since 2001 in a bid to satisfy increasing demand and to supplement underground water supplies, according to statistics released by the Beijing Water Authority on May 22. The city uses 350,000 cubic meters of rainwater every year.
In 2001, Beijing's municipal water authority started 22 rainwater-recycling projects in eight districts and some of the city's public parks. Recycled rainwater is typically used for watering the city's trees, supplementing water in the parks' lakes, supplementing underground water supplies, and supplementing water supplies in schools.
In Dongzhuang Park in the Youanmenwai area, a water collection point, complete with filtration and purification systems and spanning some 17,000 square meters, was custom-built to collect rainwater. This project helps save the city some 10,000 cubic meters of water each year.
At Daguanyuan Park, 37 rainwater gateways and 300 square meters lakes and water channels were renovated to accommodate a recycling system. The system has so far collected about 60,000 square meters of water. Most of the garden's toilets and watering systems are equipped with water saving and rainwater recycling technology.
No. 15 Middle School of Beijing includes a 20,000-square-meter rainwater collection area. Filtered and purified rainwater is used for washing the school's playground and irrigating nearby afforested land, with annual water savings volumes reaching 7,000 cubic meters.
The collection and recycling of rainwater can be traced back to ancient times. The most typical examples are found in the Forbidden City, Beihai Park (formerly known as Imperial Winter Palace) and Tuancheng (Circular Wall), where inverted underground ditches were constructed to ensure that rainwater seeped into the soil and absorbed by the roots of the trees.
(Beijing Daily, translated by Li Jingrong for China.org.cn, May 23, 2005)