August 14, 2008

Olympic Water Self Sufficient, No Deep Aquifer Water Involved

Olympic water self sufficient, no deep aquifer water involved

BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- A Ministry of Water Resources official said on Wednesday that Beijing could ensure a sufficient supply of water for the Olympic Games, with all water coming from the capital itself, no deep underground water being involved.

Vice Minister of Water Resources Hu Siyi told a news conference that the hosting of the Games did not pose any threat to Beijing's supply of water. "There is no Olympic water diverted from the neighboring Hebei Province, and the valuable deep underground water is not used."

Hu's statement was in response to a journalist's question about the concern that in order to ensure the success of the Games, the capital's neighboring provinces had to divert water to Beijing.

Gao Erkun, the ministry's water resource department director, said China boasted a strict management system over the use of water, and license was needed to use deep aquifer water.

"Up to now, Beijing has not been permitted to exploiting the deep underground water," said Gao who also added the city "has no plan to introduce Hebei's water for the Games."

He said both Beijing and Hebei belong to the Haihe River drainage area, and Beijing was located at the downstream of some Hebei cities. "In the use of water, the capital and its neighbor are reasonable and fair."

Vice Minister Hu said the deep underground water was important strategic storage and was "generally not to be exploited". The Olympic water should first come from surface water, and then from reservoirs, he said. "If shortages still existed, shallow underground water would be used as complementary resources because its storage could be constantly refreshed by rainfall."

The supply of shallow underground water in Beijing was "relatively stable", with an annual amount of about 2.4 billion cubic meters, Hu said.

He said the capital adopted a series of measures to guarantee Olympic water storage such as strong official support for water saving.

Statistics show the city consumed 4.04 billion cubic meters of water in 2000 and the figure fell to 3.4 billion cubic meters in 2006. The amount of water consumed by every 10,000 yuan (1,428 U.S. dollars) of GDP in 2006 was cut by a half from 2002. The sewage treated was up from 43 percent of total sewage to 70 percent during those four years.

Hu said the city's two major reservoirs -- Miyun and Guanting's total water storage surpassed 1.1 billion cubic meters, with 660 million ready to use.

"There is still some surplus as Beijing introduces about 600 million cubic meters of water from the two reservoirs annually," He said.

The gross water storage in China amounts to 2.8 trillion cubic meters, ranking the sixth in the world, but the per capita amount is only a quarter of the world average.

(c) 2008 Xinhua News Agency - CEIS. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.