Mainland China supplies freshwater to Taiwan islet

By Asia News Network, Inquirer.net |August 06,2018 - 08:53 PM

BEIJING — An undersea pipeline started delivering fresh water from Fujian province on the Chinese mainland to an islet in Taiwan on Sunday to ease its water shortage.

The source of the water is Longhu Reservoir, the province’s second-largest reservoir. The water will flow through an undersea pipeline to Weitou, a village on the islet of Kinmen.

The 388 million yuan ($56 million) project can now provide 34,000 cubic meters of freshwater, but local authorities say the capacity can soon be expanded to 55,000 cubic meters. The water costs NT$9.86, about 2 yuan, per cubic meter.

The pipeline from Jinjiang to Kinmen is about 28-kilometer long, 16 km of which is underwater at a maximum depth of 24 meters.

Kinmen, just 2 km from the Taiwan Straits island of Xiamen, has a chronic freshwater shortage, the per capita annual supply being only 167.9 cubic meters.

Local reservoirs struggle to meet demand, especially now as tourism on the islet increases. The shortage has also hampered production at the well-known local Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor plant.

At the request of the Kinmen county government, authorities on both sides of the Straits began negotiating the project in 1995. A contract was signed in 2015 and construction began the same year. It was completed at the end of last year and passed testing in May.

Huang Ju-hsin, deputy head of the county’s construction bureau, said Kinmen used to draw 15,000 metric tons of groundwater daily, and the land is getting salty from the long-term pumping.

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