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Beijing's Water Supply Suffers Worsening Pollution

Water from the Guanting reservoir, Beijing's fourth largest source of drinking water source, is not fit for human consumption or even irrigation, according to a report from the city's environment watchdog.

At level five on the water pollution index water is only suitable for irrigation. At below level five, water from the Guanting reservoir is not fit for growing agricultural produce.

With 21 reservoirs, the city of 16 million faces grave water supply problems as the Zhaitang, Taoyukou, Niantan and Daning reservoirs have all dried up, said the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau in its first monthly report on water quality.

Miyun, Huairou and Yanqinggucheng reservoirs, the capital's other major drinking water sources, are still providing clean, potable water, said the report which is posted on the bureau's Website.

Water quality levels between one and three are considered potable.

The report also said nearly half of Beijing's sightseeing lakes and ponds are so polluted their water also can't even be used to irrigate the park landscape that surrounds them.

The report said water quality in seven of Beijing lakes, such as the Winter Palace Lake and Taoranting Lake, is below level five. Only four lakes could be used to supply drinking water, while water from the other lakes is only fit for industrial use. 

The watchdog has earlier blamed too much untreated waste water, industrial effluent and agricultural pollution for the deteriorating water qualities in the lakes.

(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2006)

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