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Reservoir Water Quality to Improve in Two Years
The water quality of the massive Three Gorges Reservoir is expected to improve markedly in two years, a Chinese official said in Beijing on Thursday.

Environmental protection and pollution prevention had always been important considerations in the gigantic Three Gorges Project, which boosted sewage treatment facilities, said Guo Shuyan, vice-director of the State Council Three Gorges Project Construction Committee.

All sewage plants in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality will reach a total daily treatment capacity of 700,000 to 800,000 tons this year, and the figure will rise to 1.8 million tons per day by the end of 2004.

If calculated at a daily sewage discharge of 0.2 cubic meters per capita, household waste water produced by over 9 million local residents could be purified before entering the Yangtze River nextyear.

"The waste water was previously discharged into the Yangtze River directly," said Guo Shuyan.

Meanwhile, Guo pointed out that all counties and cities along the reservoir had established garbage treatment plants. In the past, however, trash was piled along the banks, waiting to be washed into the river by rain or floods.

In addition, more than 1,600 industrial enterprises within the reservoir area have experienced structural adjustments for the project. Those with no standard waste treatment measures were all shut down.

After a decade of construction, the Three Gorges Reservoir started filling on June 1 and reached the planned 135-meter level ahead of schedule on June 10.

During the entire process of water storage, the environmental monitoring jointly conducted by environmental protection, water resources and other related departments recorded that the reservoir water quality had shown no sign of deterioration.

"With the enhancement of treatment capacities for sewage and garbage as well as effective implementation of other environment-friendly measures, the water quality of the reservoir will significantly improve in the next two years," Guo said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2003)

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