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Funds Flow into Water Projects
Authorities in South China's Guangdong Province will spend 10 billion yuan (US$1.22 billion) this year tackling water supply problems.

Droughts, floods and pollution have all affected the province's water resources.

The provincial government has budgeted 10 billion yuan (US$1.22 billion) this year for water-related infrastructure projects.

And the money will primarily be used to fortify key river banks and dykes, reservoirs, water supply and conservancy pivots, said Zhou Rifang, head of the provincial water conservancy department.

The work will minimize the threats of drought and flooding, he said.

"Guangdong is facing a new round of spring drought and some areas are on the verge of drinking water shortages," he said.

Zhou particularly referred to the situation in the island county of Nan'ao in East Guangdong, where local authorities have to ship in water.

Floods are of equal concern to people in the province, he said.

Zhou said the province will closely monitor the gigantic dykes and reservoirs in its Pearl River delta and Hanjiang River regions.

He said the province will use and re-use its water resources more efficiently.

The province receives 1,777 millimeters of rain a year and has 419 billion cubic meters of water resources.

However, only 11 percent of water resources are used and only 25 percent are re-used.

The province plans to improve water quality by treating waste water, reducing sewage drainage and keeping acid rain under control, Zhou added.

He said the provincial authorities have hammered out policies to encourage the commercialization of wastewater treatment as well as to secure foreign investment and social capital for related projects.

And the province has recently issued regulations on water resources management to guide the development, use and protection of its water resources.

Guangdong aims to treat more than 40 percent of its waste water by the year 2005 and more than 60 percent by 2010.

Only 30.61 percent of Guangdong's waste water is treated at present and just 15 of its 50-odd cities have set up waste water treatment plants.

A recent investigation indicates that 10 billion cubic meters of sewage is released annually and only 49.1 percent of river water in the province is of a good standard.

Acid rain has also affected parts of the province, Zhou said.

As a result, the province will limit sulphur dioxide emissions to a maximum of 900,000 tons by the year 2005, 20 percent less than in 2000.

Acid rain leads to economic losses of around 4 billion yuan (US$481.93 million) each year and affects 17 cities in the province, Zhou said.

(China Daily April 4, 2003)

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