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South-to-North diversion project benefits 87 million people, eases crisis

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-13 07:24

The South-to-North Water Diversion project has benefited 87 million people while easing the water crisis in North China, officials said at a news conference on Monday to mark two years since the project began.

Among the beneficiaries is Li Wenlan, a senior citizen living in southwest Beijing's Fengtai district. Li's neighborhood now receives water from the nearby Guogongzhuang water plant, a facility built specifically for receiving water from the transfer project.

South-to-North diversion project benefits 87 million people, eases crisis

"There is hardly any scale residue in the water now, and the water tastes quite sweet, as far as I'm concerned," Li said. "We haven't changed the magnesium rod in our water heater for two years, because the erosion caused by water scale is much less than it used to be."

"We used to get water from the vending machine downstairs because the tap water contained too much scale, although the machine was only slightly better," she added.

"Now, nearly 70 percent of the water running in Beijing's underground pipes comes from the diversion project," said Liang Li, spokeswoman of Beijing Waterworks Group, the city's water provider. "Statistics show that the hardness of pipe water - a metric showing the amount of potential water scale - has dropped to about 120 milligrams per liter, which is only one-third of what it used to be before the project."

Pan Shaoyun, a 78-year-old from Tianjin, shares Li's views.

"The water used to be yellowish, which eventually turned everyone's teeth yellow," Pan said. "Now, although I use a water dispenser for drinking, because it's convenient to heat, I use tap water to cook meals and everything else."

Song Baoqiang, head of Tianjin CGE Water, a major civil water provider in Tianjin, said that their cost for purification chemicals has dropped by nearly one-quarter.

China began to build the project in 2002 after nearly 50 years of expert evaluations. The first stage of the eastern line of the project, which directs water from the Yangtze River in Jiangsu province to Shandong province, was launched in 2013. Initiated one year later, the middle line diverts water from Danjiangkou Reservoir at the borders of Henan and Hubei provinces to Beijing and Tianjin through Hebei province.

"The project eases the scarcity in North China and improves the water security levels along the route," said E Jingping, director of the South-North Water Diversion Office.

Liang Shuang contributed to this story.

(China Daily 12/13/2016 page4)

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