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China to raise seawater desalination capacity

(Xinhua)

08:41, February 14, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- China will greatly increase its seawater desalination capacity over the next five years to ease water shortages in coastal areas and islands and boost drinking water safety in some central and western regions, the government said Monday.

The nation aims to raise the desalinization capacity to between 2.2 million to 2.6 million cubic meters per day by 2015, according to a statement released by the General Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, on the central government's website.

Currently, China desalinates about 640,000 tonnes of seawater every day, according to data from the website of Environmental Test Equipment, which predicted investment in the industry will reach 20 billion yuan (3.2 billion U.S. dollars) over the next four years.

By 2015, desalinated seawater will contribute to over half of newly-added water supply in islands and about 15 percent of water supply in coastal areas lacking fresh water, according to the statement.

With the expansion of facilities and advanced technologies, China will have 20 cities using desalinated seawater by 2015.

The statement said the Chinese government attaches importance to developing the seawater desalination industry, as it helps create new sources of economic growth and restructure the economy.

In addition, the central government has targeted indigenous innovation for the industry, with 70 percent of raw material equipment expected to be developed domestically.

The government also encourages coastal and water-needy cities to have priority use of desalinated seawater.

According to the statement, the government will fund key seawater desalinated projects and encourage private capital to invest in the industry.

Water suppliers are allowed to seek a "rational" price formation mechanism to reflect the resource scarcity on islands and in coastal cities short of fresh water.

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