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Special Pipeline to Guarantee Water Supply to Macao
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Zhuhai, the nearest Chinese mainland city to the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), is mulling over the construction of a special pipeline that will be helpful in guaranteeing a stable water supply to the special administrative region in the future.

An official from the Water Supply Company of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, said that in accordance with a design done by the company and the Water Affairs Bureau of Zhuhai City, the pipeline would be built between the existing No. 6 and No. 7 water diversion tunnels that connect to Zhuxiandong Reservoir, a key source of fresh water to Macao.

Completion of the special pipeline will help take in more freshwater when conditions allow it and in turn improve Zhuxiandong Reservoir's capabilities of regulating the salinity in the water it stores, said the official.

The project will cost 3.1 million yuan (US$382,244), of which Macao will cover 1.5 million yuan, said the official, who added that right now, the needed investment had been provided and construction of the special pipeline might start at any time.

The advance of the salt tide on the Pearl River has been aggravated due to factors such as a drastic drop in the volume of water inflow from its tributaries since autumn last year.

Salinity of the water monitored late last December near the Lianshiwan Water Gate, the main water intake outlet for Zhuhai City in the Pearl River Delta, exceeded the statistics monitored ayear earlier, threatening water security in cities such as Zhuhai and Macao.

Earlier on Tuesday, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters of China announced that it was beginning an emergency fresh water diversion plan on the Pearl River as of 8 AM in a bid to drive back the salt tide.

Under the emergency freshwater diversion plan, freshwater was or will be diverted from four large reservoirs on the Xijiang River, a major tributary of the Pearl River, to the mainstream of the Pearl River at up to 1,350 cu m per second from 8 AM Tuesday till 5:20 PM next Tuesday.

(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2006)

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