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Beijing troubled by severe water shortage

2010-04-09 23:11:54

Due to 11 consecutive years of drought, Beijing has become a city of severe water shortage. Apart from less rainfall, a fast increasing population is also a cause.

The government has taken many measures to ensure regular water supply in Beijing. However, water from the Yangtze River which will be diverted to Beijing in 2010 will not reach Beijing before 2014, which will be a huge challenge for Beijing¡¯s water supply for the following four years.

Beijing troubled by severe water shortage

Beijing troubled by severe water shortage

Many families from the Beijing's communities have realized the importance of saving water and adopted water-saving facilities, some of which are even promoted in their communities.

Beijing is planning to legislate awarding people who save water, and one method is to reward with money.

11 consecutive years of drought

Turning on the tap, only to find there is no a single drop of water; the water will return in three days.

Villagers from Longwang Village of Qingshui Town in Mentougou District only have water supply for six hours once every three days.

Since June 2009, the villagers have to rent water wagons every day to transport water from Liangjiapu Village, 7 kilometers away from their village, and then to pour the water into their village well, in which the water level is declining.

Yu Guanghai, a 65 year-old villager can only wash his face once a day before going to bed. After finishing his work, he will fill a basin of water to wash his face first, and then to clean his body and wash his feet. Afterwards, he pours the rest away into the pigsty.

All of his four children have moved away. Only he, his wife and his father-in-law stayed in the village. "Young people certainly cannot stand not being able to bathe in over 10 days," he said.

"I cannot bear without showering," said Yan, who lives nearby Yonghegong Lama Temple and will bathe every day for about one hour every time. She casually waves away her parents' words of "you are wasting water."

Her parents put a basin underneath the sink to collect used water to flush the toilet. "I never use the used water, but flush the toilet directly with the water in the tank." Yan is a little confused of her parents' water-saving.

Yan said that she never encounters the problem of water deficiency during her daily life and she thinks that saving so little water cannot solve the problem.

"It really can save much water," said Li Ligong who is a retired engineer living in Donghuashi Community. What he refers to is his invention, a "household automatic water-saving device."

Actually the device is to put a container below the sink, linking it with the toilet tank with a pipe.

He calculated that the amount of monthly water consumption in his family has dropped to about 3 tons from the original 10 tons after using the water-saving device.

Although Yu Guanghai, Yan and Li Ligong live in the same city and have different water situations but they all have to face the same fact¡ªBeijing has a water shortage.

Beijing has suffered from drought for 11 years since 1999.

Statistics provided by Dai Yuhua, director of the water resources management division of the Beijing Water Authority, show that so far, Beijing's average rainfall this year only reached 448mm, 23 percent less than the average rainfall of 585mm in previous years.

There are also some other depressing statistics in Beijing, a city suffering from lingering drought.

The water area in the Miyun Reservoir, which provides 90 percent of the surface water supply to Beijing, reduced by nearly five square kilometers year-on-year.

3,991 residents from 21 villages in Mentougou, Yanqing and other districts and counties find difficulty in their drinking water supply to varying extents, including tho