Guizhou province, the major source of Macau’s water supply

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Issue 295, Page 5
Word count: 734
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung in Guiyang

Local reporters in the Chinese city of Guiyang were yesterday received by a representative of the province’s water resources department, whose prime hydropower station in the Pearl River’s upper stream had transported 14.3 billion cubic metres of fresh water to the lower stream between 2005 and 2007 in order to ensure a safe water supply to Macau and other neighbouring regions against salinity.

Media travelled to the capital city of Guizhou province, Guiyang, yesterday following Guangdong province’s Guangzhou on Tuesday to report on the Macau delegation’s four-day visit to three Chinese cities where they would discuss with government officials anti-salinity and water conservation strategies.

The delegation of 10, led by Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, was guided through a city tour in the afternoon while an engineer of the Guizhou Provincial Administration of Water Resources introduced to the Macau reporters their water transpositions and water resources preservation works during an exclusive meeting at the main office. 

Guizhou province is located in the upper stream area of the Pearl River basin and thus is one of the major fresh water suppliers for Macau, Zhuhai and other neighbouring regions.

The “Tiansheng Qiao” Prime Hydropower Station has been in complete operation since 2000 in the river of Nanpanjiang which forms part of the upper stream basin of the Pearl River.

According to an engineer of the provincial water resources department, Qiu Feng, the station’s dam, which has a total capacity of nearly 10.3 billion cubic metres, is the largest of its kind in the world.

Water levels of the Pearl River and its tributaries, Mr Qiu said, were evidently low in recent year which contributed to the prevalence of salinity and “severely threatened the safety of water supply for Macau, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Guangzhou and other places”.

Therefore, the Guizhou provincial government and its flood control and drought relief headquarters collaborated with the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and the Pearl River Water Commission between 2005 and 2007 to carry out urgent water transpositions three times.

The “Tiansheng Qiao” station had helped transport more than 14.3 billion cubic metres of water to the lower stream – 734 million cubic metres between January and February of 2005; 6.8 billion cubic metres between October 2006 and February 2007; as well as 6.9 billion cubic metres between October 2007 and March 2008.

Once the construction of the Chuk Un Reservoir in Zhuhai’s southern water supply system and the Da Teng Strait Water Hub in the Pearl River are completed, Mr Qiu told the Macau Daily Times that pressure for Guizhou province and the hydropower station to supply fresh water to Macau could certainly be reduced, but added that it would still vary on the actual conditions especially during the drought season between October and February.

Meanwhile, Mr Qiu said although Guizhou province had relatively ample amount of water supply measuring at about 106.2 billion cubic metres, its high levels of per capita water consumption could put the water resources at risk.

Per capita water consumption in the agricultural industry was about 60 to 80 litres a day, whilst that of the households was 200 to 300 litres, he added.

By contrast, Macau’s households have a daily water usage of 140 to 150 litres per person per day.

In terms of preserving the limited resources, Mr Qiu said the hydropower station’s management team was highly concerned about the issue and had put in a lot of effort in preventing the water from being contaminated.

For example, the reservoir will be completely cleaned before starting to store water and surrounding abandoned architectures will be demolished; implementing greening work on lands which had been affected by the construction of the hydropower station and up to date a total of 153.4 square hectometres of new grass land has already been developed; and installing drainage and purification system in offices and residential areas in towns close to the hydropower station.

As well, Mr Qiu said measures to tackle the increasingly prevalence of soil erosion and desertification were imposed which had effectively revived 1,084 square metres of land from the problem of soil erosion.

He added that “a water-saving habit” was critical in achieving the goal of conservation for a long-term.

Therefore, education and promotion among the public was one of the major components of the government’s strategies so that people would realise that water resources was not unlimited, he added.

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