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Macao Assured of Fresh Water Supply

The Macao Special Administrative Region's water supplier reassured Macao residents yesterday that it would be able to maintain its normal supply of fresh water at least till before March.

But it warned that the supply next month and the months after that depended on the amount of rainfall and the volume of water flow into the Pearl River.

Macao's fresh water supply has been threatened recently by the two-year drought in Guangdong, that has caused sea water to flow back into the Pearl River and salify it.

At a press conference yesterday, Philippe Wind, Macao Water's executive director said the drought in the Pearl River Delta this year had been particularly serious, but the central government had given solid help to the SAR.

Under a scheme, that began on January 17, fresh water has been diverted from Southwest China's Guizhou to the Pearl River to dilute the saline water.

Wind said the scheme has been successful and the salinity level of water in Macao has returned to almost normal.

But whether this level could be maintained depends on the volume of flow into the Pearl River in February, which in turn depends on the rainfall in Guangdong and Guangxi.

Past experiences show that droughts in this region usually end in March or April, but Wind didn't rule out the possibility of the dry spell continuing this time.

He nevertheless reassured the public that the reservoirs supplying Macao and those within the enclave will be replenished soon.

Moreover, Macao Water will co-operate with Zhuhai's water supply department to mutually use water resources so that the emergency water diversion scheme could have a longer effect.

It is expected that the next round of fresh water supplied under this scheme would flow into the Pearl River next week so that Zhuhai's fresh water supply would be guaranteed in the immediate future.

Macao Water said that through co-ordination with the mainland authorities, it was trying to set up a number of stations along the Pearl River to monitor the fluctuation of salinity of the river and extract water where the freshness met the required standard.

It estimated that by mid-February, all reservoirs supplying Macao will be filled with up-to-standard fresh water.

(China Daily February 5, 2005)

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