Beijing to tap neighbours’ water for Olympics

Beijing plan to import an annual 400m cubic metres of water from an adjacent province to prevent water shortages during the Olympic Games, Chinese officials have said.

The scheme will see water pumped from neighbouring Heibei province, itself suffering from drought along with Beijing and much of the north of China.

The volumes of water to be piped into the capital represent a tenth of total water use – and also a significant amount for Heibei, where saline contamination aggravates serious water shortages.

Farmers in Heibei will be told to plant less water-intensive crops instead of rice to satisfy Beijing’s water needs, expected to grow further when 2m visitors flock to the city for the Olympics in April 2008.

Bi Xiaojun, deputy head of the Beijing Water Authority, said that as well as pumping Heibei water to Beijing the authority plans to deliver water from southern China to the North.

“Water from the Yangtze river will also come to Beijing in 2010 through the south-to-north water diversion project,” he said.

Other plans include improving water quality for visitors to the Olympics, he said.

“We are planning the facilities inside the Olympic village to make sure our visitors and all our friends can drink water directly from the taps.”

For more information on the Beijing Olympics see the official Beijing Olympics website.

Goska Romanowicz

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