November 29, 2006

Bad Water

Water in Beijing reservoir, lakes unfit for drinking or irrigation

Tue Nov 28, 3:11 PM ET

Water from Beijing's fourth-largest drinking source was not fit for human consumption or irrigation during the month of October, the capital's environmental protection agency reported.

Water from the Guanting reservoir did not meet the number five standard, the lowest on China's five-tiered pollution monitoring scale, the Beijing Environmental Protection Administration said in its latest monthly water quality report.

Of the city's 21 water sources, the water quality at one other reservoir was rated at level five but was suitable for irrigation, while four other reservoirs were dried up and could not provide any water, it said.

In a separate report on Beijing lakes, the administration said that seven out of 16 lakes in the city were so polluted that their water could not be used to irrigate the parks that surrounded them.

The report said the water quality in the lake at Yuanmingyuan Park and at Taoranting Lake, two major tourist spots, were below level five.

Only four of the city's lakes could be used to supply drinking water, while water from the other lakes was only fit for industrial use.

The watchdog earlier blamed untreated waste water, industrial effluent and agricultural pollution for Beijing's deteriorating water quality in its lakes and reservoirs, Xinhua news agency reported.

China's booming economy has come at a high cost to the environment as local governments and enterprises seek to maximize profits while paying scant attention to the ecological damage that has accompanied fast-paced growth.

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