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Tap water to resume for 330,000 residents after floods in NE China

08-04-2010 10:59 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

TONGHUA, Jilin - The end might be in sight for 330,000 residents of Tonghua city of Northeast China's Jilin province, who have had to live without tap water for the past three days after floodwater cut off all water supplies to the city over the weekend.

Soldiers repair a flood-damaged water pipe on Tuesday on the outskirts of Tonghua, Jilin province. [ZHANG TAO / CHINA DAILY]
Soldiers repair a flood-damaged water pipe on Tuesday on the outskirts of Tonghua, 
Jilin province. [ZHANG TAO / CHINA DAILY]
"We plan to resume water supplies to the city at 4:30 pm on Wednesday after the construction of a temporary pipeline is completed by noon today," Wang Runmin, chief of the city's public utility bureau, told China Daily.

The new 350-meter-long temporary pipeline is being built on a bridge over the Hani River. The original four pipelines, which were built 25 years ago beneath the bridge, were destroyed by floodwater on Saturday.

Although the new pipeline will be in place on Tuesday, Wang said authorities did not rush to resume water supplies for sanitary reasons.

"The trial of the new pipeline will not begin until early on Wednesday morning, after we have set the cement which is used to support the pipe and have completed disinfection." Wang said.

It will take eight hours to transfer water from source to households, he said, so residents will not be able to have running water until late afternoon.

The bridge has also been reinforced, as weather forecasts show that a new round of rainfall will start in Tonghua on Wednesday.

However, the temporary pipeline can supply only up to seven tons of tap water per day, compared to the city's actual need of 10 tons.

"As an emergency measure during this tough time, we will order bath centers and car washes to stop doing business to make up for the shortage," he said.

The construction of permanent water pipelines will start as soon as the flood season is over and will take three months to complete, Wang said.

Authorities plan to carefully select the site for the new pipelines, because the original four pipes were built on the lower reaches of the Hani River, which proved vulnerable when the flood struck.

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