Three reservoirs in north China's Shanxi and Hebei provinces began to divert water to Beijing Tuesday in an attempt to aid the thirsty capital.
The Cetian Reservoir in Shanxi, as well as the Huliuhe and Yunzhou reservoirs in Hebei will send 92 million cubic meters in the next 12 to 28 days, the Beijing News reported.
Of that, the Guanting and Baihebao reservoirs in Beijing are expected to receive more than 80 million cubic meters of water, said sources with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Water Affairs.
This is said to be the largest water transfer to the capital city this year.
Beijing is facing a serious water shortage, sources said.
The water volume per person is less than 300 cubic meters. Anything less than 1,000 cubic meters is considered internationally as a water shortage.
The water diversion began yesterday. The first line is from the Cetian Reservoir to Beijing's Guanting Reservoir, a length of 185 kilometers. Some 70 million cubic meters are expected to be transferred along this line over 16 days.
The second line is 80 kilometers long, from Hebei's Huliuhe Reservoir to Guanting and will carry 12 million cubic meters of water over 28 days.
The new water at the Guanting Reservoir will help ease shortages at scenic spots and industries in Beijing.
Guanting has not been used for drinking water since 1997 because it is polluted by industrial and human waste.
A third line will carry 10 million cubic meters of water over 75 kilometers from Hebei's Yunzhou Reservoir to Beijing's Baihebao Reservoir. The transfer will last 12 days.
This water will eventually be diverted to the capital's Miyun Reservoir to help support the daily demand.
The water from reservoirs in Shanxi and Hebei will be diverted through rivers, sources said.
In an attempt not to waste resources, farmers along the affected rivers have already dredged the waterways and harvested their crops.
Water collection spots and sewers along the way have been closed, sources said.
Six inspection stations have been set up along the diversion path to prevent water losses and ensure safety.
This is not the first time that Beijing takes water from other regions, sources said.
A total of 154 million cubic meters of water was diverted to Beijing last year from other regions in six batches.
Earlier this year, more than 100 million cubic meters was diverted from the Beijing's Baihebao Reservoir to the Miyun Reservoir, the only source of drinking water in the capital city.
Beijing has been hit by continuous drought during the past five years.
Sources with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Water Affairs said opinions are being solicited from the public about water-saving strategies and should be released this month.
Water prices will also be raised further next year.
(China Daily October 13, 2004)