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Taiwan wary of having Kinmen supplied with water from China

2011/02/19 20:08:25

Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) The central government must be verycautious in assessing the possibility of having China supply water tothe outlying Kinmen County due to delicate cross-Taiwan Strait ties,Vice Economic Affairs Minister Lin Sheng-chung said Saturday.

"Sourcing water for Kinmen externally has to be done in thecontext of an overall plan and has been under evaluation. With thetrend toward closer cross-strait ties, we have to make an even morethorough assessment," Lin said during a visit to a desalination planton the Taiwan-held island barely 10 kilometers from China's coast.

Kinmen officials suggested that the central government allow thecounty to accept raw water from China to meet its growing demand,especially with Taiwan proper and the outlying county set to opentheir doors to independent Chinese tourists in the near future.

According to Kinmen County Secretary-General Lu Chih-hui, visitsby Chinese independent travelers will definitely create much greaterdemand for water on the island.

"With more visitors on the way, the county government has to beprepared and introducing water from China is one of its prime optionsto meet its future needs," Lu said.

The 25,000 cubic meters of water Kinmen County produces per dayat present exceeds average daily demand of 17,300 cubic meters.Production will go up to 29,000 cubic meters a day in 2015 after theexpansion of the desalination plant is completed.

But based on the estimated 30 million visits Chinese citizensmake each year to Xiamen -- the Chinese city that sits just acrossfrom Kinmen -- Lu fears that if one-tenth of those visitors add aside trip to Kinmen, the water supply on the island could beinadequate.

(By Ni Kuo-yen and Flor Wang)