Urgency of Saving Water
    2011-01-04 09:09:12     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xu
 
In the past 22 years it has been rare for Beijing to have no precipitation for two months. This has added to the already serious water shortage for this city of 20 million people.

Usually, the rainfall during the rainy season accounts for one third of the annual total precipitation, but it has been just 25 percent in the past year, the least in 50 years. The amount of rain dramatically decreased since 1999.

Beijing uses 3.79 billion cubic meters of water a year, the deficit of 1.79 billion cubic meters will depend on supply from the surrounding provinces, which are plagued by water shortages. Even if the project to divert water from the south to the north starts to supply water in 2014, it will be able to provide only 1 billion cubic meters a year.

An editorial in China Daily says all these figures point to the urgency of saving water in every conceivable way. It is reported that the Beijing municipal government is drafting regulations to ban such water wasting entertainment establishments as bathhouses, ski runs and golf courses.

The article further points out, however, that just this week a new ski run opened in Huairou district, which not just wastes water by making artificial snow with fresh water but also damages the environment by destroying bushes and grass within the run. In 2005 it was estimated that the 13 ski runs in operation consumed enough water to meet the needs of more than 40,000 Beijing families.

The paper continues to reveal alarming figures. Beijing has about 3,000 public bathhouses, which consume about 5 million tons of water a year. The amount of water used to wash cars reached 30 million tons annually when the city had 3.3 million cars in 2008. The amount of water used has soared as the city now has 4.7 million cars.

The editorial concludes that these figures show the capital has great water saving potential. The total number of bathhouses, ski runs, car washes and golf courses can be reduced. Residents can be encouraged to clean their cars in a water-saving manner. Beijing cannot afford to let people use water as they have been doing.

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