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Dike done, reservoir pushes on

SHANGHAI'S key tap-water improvement project took a major step forward yesterday when workers topped off the dike that separates the Qingcaosha Reservoir from the Yangtze River.

The project operator said it finished closing the last 150-meter gap in a circular dike with a circumference of 48 kilometers.

When the 17 billion yuan (US$2.5 billion) construction project is finished next year, it will provide better-quality tap water and a more robust supply to 10 million Shanghai residents, or 80 percent of the city's population living within the Outer Ring Road.

The reservoir sits like a huge tub next to Shanghai's Changxing Island. It will draw and store water from the Yangtze and pipe into the city. Funded by Shanghai government, the 70-square-kilometer reservoir will become China's largest storage pond created in the middle of a river or lake. It is nearly 10 bigger than Hangzhou's West Lake.

With a storage capacity of 435 million cubic meters, it will be able to supply Shanghai with 68 straight days of tap water without taking a refill from the river.

The project, which began construction in November 2007, is expected to supply water that meets the nation's second-highest quality level. Even after it is processed through treatment plants, the water will still not be suitable for drinking, however.

The city's tap water sources, which are troubled by a shortage of adequate-quality supply, now originate at an intake station on the upper reaches of Huangpu River as well as from the Chenhang Reservoir in the Yangtze River. These supplies meet only China's third-highest quality standard.

The future reservoir will not only be a relief to Shanghai's water woes, but it will also create a welcoming habitat for birds, fish and other aquatic life, according to the project builder, Qingcaosha Co.

"Compared with the heavy tides outside, the reservoir waters will be peaceful, and birds like egrets will find a good place to rest on the sandbar in the middle of the area," Xue Zhufeng, an official at Qingcaosha Co, told Shanghai Daily.

Zhou Daohong, of state-owned Shanghai Chengtou Corp, the project investor, said the reservoir will also help curb illegal fishing, which is out of control in some parts of the Yangtze River.


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