Beijing Water

Rainwater collection projects gather 24.5 million cubic meters of rainwater in Beijing


August 17, 2009

One rainfall may create a new “Kunming Lake” in Beijing. Although rainfall for 2009 has been relatively less than that of prior years, rainwater collection projects across urban and rural areas have been playing a big role. According to statistics from Beijing Water Authority, until August 13, 24.5 million cubic meters of rainwater, equivalent to 21 “Kunming Lakes” had been stored in Beijing. Rivers and lakes in urban areas also stored 18.04 million cubic meters of rainwater, creating a fresh and beautiful sight in Beijing.

Many residents feel that rain frequently “visited” Beijing during the flood season of 2009. However, statistics from Beijing Water Authority show that by August 12, total rainfall in Beijing had reached 326 mm, dropping by 26 percent year–on–year, and by 22 percent compared to the average rainfall of 418 mm over the past 30 years. Rainfall in the upper reaches of Miyun Reservoir, Beijing’s water source, was 244 mm, a drop of 30 percent year-on-year, and Guanting Reservoir received 136 mm rainfall, down by 36 percent year–on–year.

Experts with Beijing Water Authority explained that rainfall in 2009 had two characteristics: firstly, urban areas received more rainfall, while suburban areas and water sources received less; secondly, although some areas received frequent rainstorms, the average rainfall was smaller, so although the rains were numerous, the amount of water was relatively small.

Despite low rainfall in 2009, precious water was stored in Beijing as much as possible. Since 2006, Beijing has constructed 1,200 rainwater collection projects, with a capacity of 45 million cubic meters. Water infiltration and storage projects were set up by departments at municipal and regional levels, businesses, parks and communities to collect and recycle rainwater, which can be used to wash toilets and cars, as well as water roads and trees. Surfaces, squares and parking lots have been repaved with porous bricks or non-waterproof materials to allow water to filter down and add to groundwater. Suburban areas made full use of existing containers such as abandoned pits, rearing ponds and quarries. After treatment like clearing out the mud, building protective walls, transforming pits and ponds, and installing depositing and filtration equipment, artificial lakes are built to collect rainwater, which can be used to irrigate farmland, orchards, scenic spots and gardens. In addition, artificial lakes also add a new sight to the countryside.

In the summer of 2009, rainwater collection projects across Beijing really took off, storing more than 24.5 million cubic meters of rainwater, equivalent to 21 “Kunming Lakes.” Furthermore, rivers and lakes in urban areas without a flood risk, have stored 1.04 million cubic meters of rainwater.

In addition, the South-North Water Diversion has postponed its entrance to Beijing. Bi Xiaogang, deputy director general of Beijing Water Authority explained that the city has been coordinating with neighboring provinces such as Hebei and Shanxi. As a result, between September 2008 and July 2009, Beijing channeled in 300 million cubic meters of water. The city has utilized the districts of Changping, Huairou and Pinggu as emergency water sources to backup the supply. Though water demand in 2009 may increase, there is no doubt that Beijing can satisfy it.

Considering that the capital city is still short of water, Beijing Water Authority is calling for residents to save and cherish water resources.

Categories: Beijing Water

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