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Agreement signed to supply Taiwanese islands with water from China

2015/07/20 13:23:09

Kinmen, July 20 (CNA) Water from China could begin flowing to Taiwan's offshore Kinmen County (金門縣) by the end of 2016 as a historic agreement was signed Monday to alleviate the island group's chronic water shortage.

The contract to build an undersea pipeline is expected to be awarded in August to bring water from China's Fujian Province, separated from Kinmen by a narrow body of water just a few kilometers wide. Consisting of around a dozen islands with an area of 150 square kilometers, Kinmen is 210 km from Taiwan proper.

The agreement is a far cry from Cold War-era hostilities that saw Kinmen endure shelling by China, which lasted until the late 1970s.

According to Kinmen's water statistics, the island group's daily water consumption is approximately 42,000 tonnes, with agriculture accounting for 15,000 tonnes.

With its primary source in groundwater only covering 8,000 tonnes per day and 17,000 tonnes coming from reservoirs, support for Kinmen's population of just under 130,000 is barely enough during droughts and dry seasons.

An extrapolation of current population trends and economic growth would have projected 20,000 tonnes of a daily water shortage by the end of 2015 if the deal did not go through.

In 2013, the Executive Yuan (行政院) approved the project to improve Kinmen's water supply by taking water from Jinjiang City in Fujian.

Under the agreement, 15,000 tonnes of water per day will be delivered to Kinmen to begin with, increasing over time to 34,000 tonnes per day after the 10th year.

Kinmen was one of the most tenuous locations between the Republic of China and China, but now benefits from tourists coming from both Taiwan and China as relations have eased.

(By Huang Hui-min, Chen Pei-yu and Lance Yau)