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China cries for water; Govt looks seaward

The planned desalination projects costing $ 25 billion expected to solve drinking water problem in China.

October 31, 2006

It may be an economy with a fast pace of growth, but China is reeling under acute drought conditions. Access to pure drinking water is what the people of the communist nation wish for, more than anything else.

In a nation where millions are without regular access to drinking water, the growth process too is left wondering on how to move ahead. Realising the need for making available drinking water to the people, the government is looking seaward. The project: Desalination of sea water to end the crisis. The proposed project would involve setting up of tunnels that may stretch up to 300 km and cost more than the $25 billion.

The drought conditions have been made worse by factories that dot the nation who have ignored pollution warnings and dumped toxic industrial waste into rivers and lakes .

With the new project being proposed, China would desalinate 800,000 to 1 million cubic meters of sea water every day and use 55 billion cubic meters annually by 2010. The proposal is part of China's ninth five-year plan. Last year, the country successfully desalinated 120,000 cubic meters of sea water a day.

It has been estimated that as many as 600 midsized and large-sized cities now reel under acute water scarcity. The country pump in billions in a project to transfer water from its southern region to the arid north, reports said.


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