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Kinmen begins to import water from Fujian

2018/08/05 13:28:17

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's outlying county of Kinmen began to import water from nearby Fujian province of China on Sunday to ease long-term concerns of potential water shortages.

A dedication ceremony, hosted by county chief Chen Fu-hai (陳福海), was held at Tianbu Reservoir in Kinmen, an island group located just kilometers off China's southeastern coast.

The new project begins operations at a time when relations between Taiwan and China are at a standstill, especially as Beijing ratches up its suppression of Taiwan in the international community. But the Kinmen County chief said Saturday that there are more plans to come.

He vowed that the "water link," a deal between China and Taiwan signed in 2015 to provide Kinmen water for 30 years, will be followed by an "electricity link" and "bridge link" between Kinmen and Fujian in the future.

Chen dubbed them the "three new links," a reference to the "three mini links" that opened postal, transportation and trade connections between Taiwan and China starting in 1991.

Kinmen first expressed its desire to buy water from China in 1996 when it suffered from severe drought. Four years later, Taiwan's Water Resources Bureau (now renamed Water Resources Agency) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs completed a report on the potential impact of such a project.

Authorities from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait started to gather information and exchange views on the water transfer proposal in 2002, and the Executive Yuan, Taiwan's top administrative organ, approved the project to channel water from Fujian to Kinmen in 2014.

Kinmen's water authority signed a 30-year water purchase agreement with its counterpart in Fujian on July 20, 2015, ending the archipelago's longtime worries over water shortages caused by a series of factors, including a lack of precipitation, a lack of large dams and a growing number of Chinese visitors.

Under the deal, Kinmen agreed to import up to an average of 34,000 tons of water a day from Fujian at a cost of NT$9.86 (US$0.32) per cubic meter of water, with the daily supply able to go up to 55,000 tons a day, according to Kinmen County Waterworks.

Taiwan spent NT$1.35 billion to build the 16-kilometer-long underground and underwater pipeline running from Kinmen's Tianbu Reservoir to the coastal township of Jinjing in Fujian that made the deal possible.

(By Huang Hui-min and Elizabeth Hsu)