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New Reservoir Boosts Shanghai's Water Quality

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Qingcaosha, a new reservoir that sources water from the Yangtze River, will start supplying water to a total of 750,000 residents in the Pudong New Area starting Dec 1.

People living near Pudong International Airport, and the district's Jinqiao and Caolu areas will be among the first to get a taste of the water from the city's largest water source.

Shanghai will source up to 70 percent of its tap water from the Yangtze River in a bid to improve its water quality by 2012. The city currently relies on the river for about 30 percent of its tap water.

"Now the Huangpu River accounts for about 70 percent of the city's water supply, but its water quality is worse than that of the Yangtze," said Zhang Jiayi, director of the Shanghai water affairs bureau.

Half of the city's population is expected to drink water from Qingcaoshao by the middle of next year. Water supplies to the rest of the population will also be improved, Zhang said.

"A large share of water from the Yangtze River would offset the share from the heavily polluted Huangpu River," said Lu Xiaoru, general manager of Shanghai Qingcaosha Raw Water Engineering Co Ltd.

"As of now, at least 5 million tons of water is being taken from the Huangpu River every day, and such a massive demand can't guarantee the quality anymore. Qingcaosha, on the other hand, can easily supply 7.08 million tons of water a day."

Though Shanghai is located at the mouth of the Yangtze, it lacks quality fresh water since the city's primary water source, the Huangpu River, has been seriously polluted since the 1980s. The United Nations named Shanghai as one of six cities in the world facing severe water shortage.

Jiangsu province native Wang Shouhe, an engineer for the Qingcaosha headwaters project, said he couldn't get used to Shanghai's tap water during his first few days in the city in 2006. "I had to put tea leaves in the water to ease the taste," said Wang.

But after tasting water from Qingcaosha, Wang said: "I can say Shanghai residents are lucky to have such fresh water. I've been to Qingcaosha, which sandwiches between two of Shanghai's satellite islets. It has better quality water compared with the water from the upper reaches of the Huangpu River."

The Qingcaosha Reservoir, which lies north of Changxing Island, cost the local government 17 billion yuan (US$2.53 billion).

Wang Zhengda from Shanghai Qingcaosha Raw Water Engineering Co Ltd said another 0.6 yuan per cubic meter is expected to be added to the current water price in the future.

Shanghai's water price was increased from 2.3 yuan per cu m to 2.8 yuan per cu m on Nov 20.

(China Daily November 26, 2010)

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