De­sali­nated wa­ter to be piped into Bei­jing by 2019

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN in Caofei­d­ian, He­bei zhengjin­ran@ chi­

Bei­jing is plan­ning to pipe in de­sali­nated wa­ter from the port of Caofei­d­ian in He­bei prov­ince to meet in­creased de­mand.

Un­der the de­sali­na­tion project, 1 mil­lion met­ric tons of drink­ing wa­ter a day will be pro­duced from nearby Bo­hai Bay.

Sup­plies will be piped to Bei­jing, and are ex­pected to sat­isfy one-third of de­mand in 2019. Caofei­d­ian is un­der the city of Tang­shan’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

Zhang Guibao, deputy district head, con­firmed that the project has been ap­proved by the He­bei provin­cial govern­ment and that pre­lim­i­nary re­search has been car­ried out.

Wang Xiaoshui, the man­ager in charge of the project un­der the Bei­jing En­ter­prises Wa­ter Group, said, “We are pre­par­ing the nec­es­sary plans for re­view and eval­u­a­tion by the na­tional plan­ning author­ity.”

He said the project is ex­pected to be ap­proved by the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion next year af­ter pass­ing the re­view.

Con­struc­tion of a re­lated fac­tory and pipe­lines will take two to three years.

In­vest­ment in the project may reach 17 bil­lion yuan ($2.7 bil­lion), with 10 bil­lion yuan go­ing for con­struc­tion of pipe­lines run­ning 270 km through Tang­shan and Ji, a county in Tian­jin, be­fore reach­ing Bei­jing.

The fi­nal de­sign of the pipe­line is still be­ing dis­cussed, Wang said.

The de­sali­na­tion project will fea­ture a com­bi­na­tion of heat­ing and re­verse os­mo­sis tech­niques to process the wa­ter.

The Bei­jing group in­volved in the project launched a pi­lot de­sali­na­tion project in Caofei­d­ian in March 2012 to pro­vide 5 tons of drink­ing wa­ter to the district ev­ery day.

Zhang Haiyan, a worker on the pi­lot project who lives in Caofei­d­ian and uses de­sali­nated wa­ter ev­ery day, says it is pro­cessed to meet 108 qual­ity in­di­ca­tors, and it tastes just like reg­u­lar tap wa­ter.

Wa­ter pro­duced un­der the pi­lot project costs about 6 yuan a ton, but this will rise to about 8 yuan when Bei­jing comes on­board, due to in­creased costs from the pipe­line con­struc­tion.

While the to­tal in­vest­ment is large and the wa­ter price a lit­tle higher than the cur­rent daily do­mes­tic charge of about 4 yuan a ton, many be­lieve the project is much needed.

Daily wa­ter sup­plies for Bei­jing, which is home to more than 20 mil­lion people, ex­ceeded 2.98 mil­lion tons last year, al­most reach­ing mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter sup­ply ca­pac­ity, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the Bei­jing Wa­ter Author­ity. An­nual per capita wa­ter sup­ply for Bei­jing res­i­dents dropped to 100 cu­bic me­ters, far be­low the 1,000 cu­bic me­ters thresh­old set by the United Na­tions.

Ex­perts be­lieve that, faced with in­creas­ing de­mand for wa­ter, Bei­jing must ex­pand sup­ply through mul­ti­ple chan­nels, and Bo­hai Bay is a vi­able source.

The cap­i­tal has also taken steps to ad­just wa­ter pric­ing to man­age con­sump­tion.

It is con­duct­ing a hear­ing as part of mea­sures to in­crease the price by about 1 yuan. Pub­li­cized plans state that house­holds will pay be­tween about 5 yuan and 9 yuan per ton, based on an­nual con­sump­tion.

The an­nounce­ment, by Bei­jing’s de­vel­op­ment and re­form com­mis­sion, said cur­rent pric­ing does not re­flect the short­age of wa­ter re­sources.

The city needs a new pric­ing sys­tem, un­der which charges rise ac­cord­ing to the amount of wa­ter con­sumed, to en­cour­age ra­tio­nal use, the com­mis­sion said.

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