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November 25, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

Cleaner water from city's taps

Five million Shanghai residents should soon have access to higher quality tap water after the Qingcaosha Reservoir in the Yangtze River comes into operation next Wednesday.

But they might notice a slight muddy smell for just over a month during the changeover from the current reservoir on the Huangpu River, water authorities said.

Main construction finished yesterday on the 70 square kilometer Qingcaosha Reservoir near Changxing Island that will provide cleaner water for about 10 million residents, or around half the city's permanent population, by the middle of June next year.

About 4.2 million people in Yangpu, Hongkou, Zhabei, Luwan, Jing'an, Huangpu districts and part of Putuo district will notice a smell from the water until around January 15, Zhang Jiayi, director of the Shanghai Water Authority, told a press conference yesterday.

It would be because the four main water plants in the districts would have to use water from further down the Huangpu River temporarily during the changeover rather than the current upstream supply, he said.

To ensure water safety, the plants would add additional activated carbon powder during processing, said Gu Jinshan, deputy general manager of Shanghai Chengtou Corp, the major utilities company that owns most of the city's water plants.

The water authority would also take more water from Taihu Lake in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, to boost the quality, said Zhang.

"The authority will monitor the water condition around clock during the period and inform the residents in time in case any emergency occurred," Zhang said.

Over the next month or so, the authority will also be renovating pipelines linking water resources and water plants around the districts. The current pipes have been in use for 23 years.

By June 15, about 10 million residents in Changning, Xuhui, Luwan, Jing'an, Huangpu, Hongkou and Yangpu districts as well as parts of the Pudong New Area, Putuo, Zhabei, Minhang and Qingpu districts will drink the cleaner water from the reservoir.

People in other parts of Qingpu and Minhang districts as well as part of Songjiang, Jinshan and Fengxian districts will continue using water from the Huangpu River.

About 750,000 residents in the Pudong New Area might notice cloudy tap water from next Wednesday because the new supply will be running in the opposite direction to the previous one and might wash out scale that had formed inside the pipes, Gu said.

But he said that would last for two days at the most.

The 17 billion yuan (US$2.56 billion) reservoir project will protect residents from the influence of the salt water tides that occur in winter and spring, as the reservoir can more easily be shut to prevent the salt tide at the Yangtze River mouth from getting in, said Zhang.

Its water storage is adequate to sustain the city's consumption for up to 68 days from the current 10 days at the Chenhang Reservoir that also gets its water from the Yangtze.

A 5-kilometer buffer area around the intake of the reservoir is being monitored around the clock to ensure the reservoir can be shut in time.

Salt water pours into the Yangtze River mouth every year from October to April, threatening quality in the city's waterways and reservoirs.

Chongming Island will use water from the Yangtze from 2015 after the construction of another reservoir to serve an additional 1.5 million residents, Zhang said.

The current pipelines linking to the Huangpu are to remain as a backup.


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