Beijing Water

Beijing’s water shortage worsens as SNWD project delayed

Yan Weijue
China Daily
June 28, 2010

In a bid to relieve Beijing’s water shortage, 200 million cubic meters of water will be transferred from three reservoirs in Hebei province to the metropolis, rednet.cn reported.

This is the second large-scale water transfer for the Beijing-Shijiazhuang section in the middle route of the South-to-North Water Diversion (SNWD) project since its construction in 2008. Starting from late May, the whole process is expected to be completed in November.

From Sept 18, 2008, to July 25, 2009, four reservoirs in Hebei have transferred a total of 435 million cubic meters of water to the capital, 330 million of which was received. The transfer was carried out at a time when the SNWD project was postponed for five years.

The water shortage crisis in Beijing has been getting worse in recent years. The city borrowed up to 400 million cubic meters of water from Shanxi and Hebei from 2003 to 2008, and still is in dire need of 200 million to 600 million cubic meters per year from Hebei until 2014.

Meanwhile, the city paid for its excessive exploitation of underground water, as the water level in the plains has been reduced from 11 meters to 24 meters below sea level over the decade. An excess of 5.8 billion cubic meters of underground water has been taken, with the water storage of Miyun reservoir and Guanting reservoir decreasing 2 billion cubic meters.

Despite the water transfer efforts and underground water exploitation, there is still a lack of 400 million cubic meters of water every year in Beijing, where experts says that the gap between water supply and demand has reached a critical point.

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