Home / Environment / Opinions Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
How to rescue our shrinking water resources
Adjust font size:

Water for more than two million people in Shanghai was once again threatened by an invasion of salt tide last week at the Yangtze River estuary. This is the season for salt tides.

Disruption of supply and tainted water were averted, however, by emergency measures -- cutting Yangtze supply and replenishing it from local reservoirs so customers were not affected.

The annual salt tide problem is expected to be solved when a much bigger reservoir at the mouth of the Yangtze River -- the Qingcaosha Reservoir is put into use next year.

The new reservoir means a change in Shanghai's main water source from the Huangpu River to the Yangtze River, which generally has better water quality.

A new reservoir is by no means the long-term answer to the city's chronic lack of clean water.

Yangtze River water now accounts for about 20 percent of the city's total supply, while the Huangpu River contributes 80 percent.

The new Qingcaosha Reservoir, to be completed by year's end, is expected to supply 7.19 million cubic meters of tap water daily for about 10 million people, over half of the city, as Shanghai Daily reported early last month.

"Due to its huge storage capacity, it will hardly be affected by the salt tide," water expert Zhu Jianrong to Shanghai Daily. Zhu is professor of the State's Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research at East China Normal University.

The reservoir capacity will ensure a normal water supply for up to 68 days without drawing from the Yangtze River - nearly 10 times the capacity of the reservoir currently in use at the mouth of the Yangtze River that supplies water for Shanghai.

However, the new reservoir with limited water inflow and outflow could also mean an outbreak of polluting blue-green algae, expert Li Jianhua told Shanghai Daily. He is deputy director of the Key Laboratory of the Yangtze Water Environment (Ministry of Education), Tongji University.

"With a single inlet and outlet the water flow would greatly slow down," he said, providing conditions for possible algae growth.

Another problem is silt.

"The water from Yangtze River carries huge amounts of silts, and its accumulation will soon reduce storage capacity of the Qingcaosha Reservoir," warned Wang Tianhou, professor of Life Sciences of East China Normal University.

As the new reservoir is far from the city center, the constant pumping of water requires huge consumption of energy, and construction of pipelines could cause damage to the natural environment.

Shanghai in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River is vulnerable to sudden pollution accidents in the upper reaches of the river.

1   2    

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name

China Archives
Related >>
- Tap water concerns dip as salt tide ends
- Shanghai residents urged to conserve water
- Powerful salt tide hits Pearl River
- Water cut to 350,000 families in Shanghai
- Measures taken to guarantee water quality in Shanghai
- Tap quality: Shanghai targets water
- Shanghai reservoir to flow next year
- Structural work to start at Qingcaosha Reservoir
NGO Events Calendar Tips
- Environmental English Training (EET) class
- Hand in hand to protect endangered animals and plants
- Changchun, Mini-marathon Aimed at Protecting Siberian Tiger
- Water Walk by Nature University
- Green Earth Documentary Salon
Sichuan Earthquake

An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM on May 12.

Panda Facts
A record 28 panda cubs born via artificial insemination have survived in 2006.
South China Karst
Rich and unique karst landforms located in south China display exceptional natural beauty.
Saving the Tibetan Antelopes
The rare animals survive in the harsh natural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Laws & Regulations
- Forestry Law of the People's Republic of China
- Meteorology Law of the People's Republic of China
- Fire Control Law of the People's Republic of China
- Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters
- Law of the People's Republic of China on Conserving Energy
State Environmental Protection Administration
Ministry of Water Resources
Ministry of Land and Resources
China Environmental Industry Network
Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base