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Posted Tue Jun 24 2008: from Conde Nast Portfolio:
China's Big Drain
Shijiayao’s main water source is a seep in a notch in the barren mountainside, which drips about a dozen bucketfuls a day—except in summer, when it dries up completely. No one bathes in ­Shijiayao. Next month, while visitors to Beijing amble along man-made lakes and fountains at the grand Olympic Green and Olympic Forest Park, ­Shijiayao residents will trek about 12 miles a day for drinking water.... Now the Olympics are exacerbating China’s water problems. To ensure enough potable water for an expected 1.5 million visitors in August, Beijing is tapping 80 billion gallons of so-called backup supply from four reservoirs in neighboring Hebei Province. Yet water levels in these reservoirs are already dangerously low. So to sustain the population boom on the semiarid Beijing plain, China’s water planners are scrambling to build pipelines, canals, and water tunnels farther and farther into the hinterlands.
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Drink till the water runs dry.

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