Shenzhen, a coastal city in south China's Guangdong Province, will begin a pilot project that will see seawater used to flush toilets in the hope of saving its scarce fresh water supplies.
Newly built hotels and residential areas will be the first to use seawater toilets. Seawater will also be used to cool power and chemical plants, according to a municipal government plan on recycling.
Water resources in Shenzhen are a mere quarter of the country's average, said a Nanfang Daily report.
Due to decreasing rainfall in recent years in the Pearl River area, the estuary of the river has fallen a victim to worsening salt tides, which gravely affected supplies of drinking water in Shenzhen as well as other cities in the Pearl River Delta region.
Shenzhen will employ water-saving devises in all public buildings by 2010, and discourage the production, sales and use of commodes and devises that waste water, according to the plan.
China has an annual per capita water resources of 2,200 cubic meters, only 31 percent of the world's average. Currently, about 400 out of China's 660 cities lack water and 136 have reported severe water shortages.
The Ministry of Construction said that city authorities should also act quickly to draft their water conservation plans for the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period, which gives priority to water conservation and waste water treatment.
(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2006)