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Beijing Experiences More Recycling Water

Nowadays, when people walk along Beijing roadsides, they may seldom guess that public fountains, sprinklers, gardens and greenbelts all make use of recycled water.

China advocates energy-saving and discharge reduction policies. Many wastewater disposal factories in various cities have set up reclaimed water facilities systems. To cope with next year's 2008 Olympic Games Beijing municipal authorities are exploring new ways to increase city usage of reclaimed water.

According to the Beijing Water Authority, Beijing has established four water recycling plants and two water pump stations with 325 kilometers of paved pipelines to date. Currently Beijing can provide 960,000-cubic-meters of water on a daily basis, with recycled water reaching 50 percent - the highest rate in China.

Recycling water pours into the Olympic Park

In May, high-quality recycled water from the Beijing Qinghe Water Recycling Treatment Plant poured into the Olympic Park in a steady stream, signifying another breakthrough how recycled water is used. The plant has adopted advanced technologies to process water while simultaneously absorbing mature skills and experiences from domestic and overseas sectors. The newly processed water resembles clear water. It is pure and limpid, without color and smell.

The water processed by the plant is mainly used to supply the Olympic Park's water needs and will also service Haidian and Chaoyang districts. In this way, Beijing can save 30 million cubit meters of clean water every year.

In order to promote the usage of reclaimed water, the Beijing Drainage Group Co. Ltd has developed an intelligent water machine. This machine can automatically provide reclaimed water for public sanitation, gardens, greenbelts and even car-washing when people use their water cards. In 2006, the machine provided a total of 65,000 cubic meters of water. The price of this proclaimed water is lower than tap water, so has gained popularity. It is expected that Beijing will produce 60 similar machines in 2008.

The Beijing Drainage Group Co. Ltd will also invest 1.7 billion yuan (US$220 million) to operate nine water recycling plants and construct 500 kilometers of pipelines to adequately fulfill Beijing's needs during the Olympic Games.

Recycling water to irrigate farmland

Last November, the farmers in Beijing's Daxing District began to use recycled water.

At the end of 2006, the Nanhongmen irrigation zone initiated an agriculture recycling water project designed to irrigate farmlands of 0.2 million mu by 0.3 million-cubic-meters with recycled water on a daily basis. The water primarily irrigated wheat and corn, plants for feeding animals, and other gardens and greenbelts.

At present, the Nanhongmen irrigation zone has brought to life many beautiful scenes: rows of reed waves in crystal lakes, red flowers and green grass form a pleasing vision. Both sides of the channel are planted with aquatic plants, bushes and arbors. Transportation is more convenient along flat paths. Recycled water has improved the water and riverbed environment, as well as boosted the quality of life for nearby residents.

Another example is Niujia Village located in Beijing's Fangshan District. While promoting the construction of new countryside, the village also actively advocates its own water affair project. By laying pipe to channel water into everyone's homes, the residents can drink qualified water, thus protecting the safety of drinking water in rural areas.

Near Baohezhuang Village a wastewater disposal plant has been established to deal with wastewater. After processing, the reclaimed water can be used to irrigate farmland. This method increases the efficiency of water resources.

The changing division between various departments and between rural and urban areas

Beijing is a big city with a severe water shortage, with less than 300 cubic meters of water resources per person. Since 1999, Beijing has experienced eight consecutive years of drought weather, with only 450 millimeters of rainfall on average during this time. In light of this situation, Beijing has made great efforts to incorporate scientific development, standardize administrative mechanisms, and unify water protection, management and the utilization process. All of these sectors have made significant progress.

Administering water resources has encountered the problem of division between various departments and between rural and urban areas for a long time. "Those who manage water issues do not regulate watercourses; those who provide water do not care about water pollution." To comprehensively coordinate the entire city's water protection program the city government has organized Water Affair Authority at both the district and city level. The government has set up 114 waterworks stations at different watercourses to supervise comprehensive regulation work, as well as 3,298 farmer's water associations to better manage water affairs. By adopting these measures, the government can holistically administer transporting water, providing water, saving water, draining off water, disposing of wastewater, and utilizing recycled water.

(China Development Gateway by Sun Wan October 16, 2007)

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