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China Sets Tough Quotas for Water Use
China's water conservation agencies are expecting enterprises to save up to 6 billion tons of water a year by 2005 with the first national quotas for industrial water consumption taking effect, the China Daily reported Tuesday.

The target water savings would be enough to satisfy the needs of nearly 14 million people for a year. China's current annual average per capita water supply stands at 430 tons, experts said.

The electric power, iron and steel, petroleum refining, dyeing and paper-making industries are China's top five water consumers, accounting for 66.6 percent of the total combined water intake for all industries in 1999, said Zhao Jiarong of the State Economic and Trade Commission.

The details of the water quotas for specific industries are not immediately available, but a draft version of the standards stipulates that the water intake for producing one ton of steel should not exceed 15 tons.

In China, 90 tons of water is used for every 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) worth of industrial output, up to seven times the average level in developed countries.

Meanwhile, only 52 percent of industrial waste water is recycled, compared with 80 percent in advanced countries, the commission statistics indicate.

Placing ceilings on the water intake by the five biggest consumers will motivate the affected firms to economize on water use by retrofitting water-saving devices and enforcing water-saving measures, Zhao said.

Up to 80 percent of the enterprises in the five industries will have to upgrade their infrastructure and enhance management to meet the water use quotas, according to Shi Baoquan, vice director of the Standardization Administration of China.

(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2003)

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