Newspaper article International New York Times

A New Source of Water for Beijing ; Desalination Plant Aims to Supply a Third of City's Requirements from 2019

Newspaper article International New York Times

A New Source of Water for Beijing ; Desalination Plant Aims to Supply a Third of City's Requirements from 2019

Article excerpt

A plant could provide a large portion of the drinking water for the parched Chinese city by 2019, the state news media said.

A coastal desalination plant east of Beijing could provide a large portion of the drinking water for the parched capital by 2019, the state news media quoted officials as saying on Tuesday. The reports indicated that the government and state enterprises were investing heavily in desalination projects to alleviate a dire water shortage in northern China.

The reports, citing officials who spoke over the weekend and on Monday, said the proposed plant, to be located in the city of Tangshan, in Hebei Province, had already been approved by a provincial development agency. The plan is to complete construction of the plant by 2019, and for it to supply one million tons of fresh water each day, which could account for one-third of the water consumption of Beijing, a city of more than 22 million people, officials said. A headline on an article published by Global Times, a populist state-run newspaper, said, "Seawater to Supply Beijing in 2019."

The proposed plant would be the core of one of the biggest desalination projects in China. It is the proposed second phase of a desalination project that is run by a joint venture company, AQBEWG, formed by Aqualyng, a Norwegian company, and the Beijing Enterprises Water Group, a company that is listed in Hong Kong and is a subsidiary of a large company owned by the Beijing government.

The first phase of the project, which is about 200 miles east of Beijing, in a district of Tangshan called Caofeidian, already produces about 50,000 tons of water each day for the district's use, officials said. The water comes from the Bohai Gulf, in northeastern China.

The second, larger plant would cost an estimated $1.1 billion, and the pipelines to Beijing, about 170 miles long, would cost $1.6 billion, the state news media reports said.

The price for the water in Beijing would be $1.29 per ton, twice as much as the price of tap water, the reports said.

Northern China has been suffering for many years from a chronic drought, and officials in the central and local governments have been desperately searching for ways to bring drinking water to the most populated areas. …

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