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Beijing Inspectors on Lookout for Water-wasting Activities

Beijing announced on Sunday that it will start a weeklong campaign to inspect incidents of water wastage around the capital and to remind citizens about conservation measures.

A Beijing city management and law-enforcement bureau official said the campaign, taking place between Nov. 19 to Nov. 25, was aimed at discovering whether water-guzzling companies and construction sites were consuming water within their set quota. Checks against wastage activities in hotels, carwashes and bathing facilities, among others, will also be conducted.

Illegal dumping of waste-water into lakes and rivers is another area to be examined.

The bureau has already set up a "96310" hotline for citizens to make reports on water-wasting activities, and is sending its staff into the field to promote conservation in companies, institutions and private households.

In 2006, the bureau recorded 763 cases of water wastage and levied about 2.2 million yuan (US$296,356) in fines.

Beijing has reason to be thrifty as its per capita freshwater resource is only 300 cubic meters, about one-eighth the national average.

As host of next year's Summer Olympics, it was announced in May that 400 million cubic meters of water would be diverted annually from neighboring Hebei Province to safeguard the city's water supply for the Games.

The amount is about one-ninth of Beijing's 2006 water consumption of 3.43 billion cubic meters.

In October, the city earmarked 100 million yuan (US$12.8 million) to prevent water pollution and foster water saving in Zhangjiakou and Chengde. Water from the two Hebei Province cities feed two major Beijing drinking water sources, the Miyun and Guanting reservoirs.

Also last month, Beijing's northeastern Shunyi District government completed the construction of a pipeline to divert water from a river to boost the water supply around the Olympic rowing and canoeing venue.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2007)

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