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Beijing Drafting Rules on Water Resources

Lawmakers in Beijing are deliberating a draft of detailed rules on implementing the law on water resources, which includes tougher control on exploiting underground water resources and encourages the use of recycled water, sources said Thursday.


The draft tightens control or bans sinking wells for drawing underground water in places under certain geographic conditions and circumstances in the city, which faces the most severe drought in 55 years.


Beijing, one of the world's huge cities suffering severe water shortage, will also strictly control over the exploitation of mineral water and terrestrial heat water.


The per-capita water resources in Beijing stands at 300 cubic meters, about one eighth of the national average, and one thirtieth of the world's average.


Even after the completion of the country's south-north water diversion project, which will bring water from the Yangtze River to Beijing, the per-capita water resources in the city would remain below 400 cubic meters, said Wang Weicheng, deputy director of the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress.


Beijing will be allocated 1.1 billion cubic meters of water a year when the project is completed in 2008.


In Beijing, Guanting Reservoir and Miyun Reservoir are the major water sources. They hold 700 million to 800 million cubic meters of water on an annual basis, a drastic drop from 2 billion cubic meters in the 1970s as a result of reduced water inflow.


The capital city has been reporting excessive development of underground water due to severe shortage of ground water resources over the last five years.


To ease the water shortage, the city encourages the use of recycled water, and some preferential policies will be included in the draft rules.


Besides, Wang suggested the municipal government should keep the general public known about the situation of water resources in the city to help them increase their awareness of the urgent need to save water.


(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2004)

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