Beijing, March 2 : In a bid to ease the pressure on water supply in the Chinese capital, residents will soon get access to desalinised seawater made safe for consumption. Beijing's water shortage has become worse as its permanent population nears 20 million.
A seawater desalinisation plant has recently been put into operation in the seaside city of Tangshan, about 260 km southeast of Beijing, said Zhou Lingyun, an official at the Beijing Enterprises Water Group Co. Ltd.
"Every day, the plant is able to put out 50,000 tonnes of desalinised seawater, which meets the standards of drinking water," Zhou was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The daily output capacity will be expanded to one million or even three million tonnes in the future, he said.
"That will greatly ease the water shortage in Beijing. If the daily output capacity reaches three million tonnes, that will meet the daily demand of the city for drinking water," he said.
Official figures suggest the city's per capita water resource availability has dropped to one-tenth of the UN's "danger threshold".
China aims to increase its seawater desalination capacity over the next five years to ease shortage in coastal areas and islands. Currently, China desalinates about 640,000 tonnes of seawater every day.
With the expansion of facilities and advanced technologies, China will have 20 cities using desalinated seawater by 2015.