Water and China – The Effects of Hosting an Olympic Event

With the 2010 Olympics fast approaching here in Vancouver, I began to wonder what effects the games will have on our watershed, what with over 500,000 people estimated to come for the event, alongside 6700 games participants, and 10,000 media correspondents, this makes for very large strain on our water system.

What are Vancouver's Olympic Plans?

Is Vancouver’s Watershed Prepared for the Olympic Strain?

I stumbled upon a post over at watercrunch, that outlines all the efforts China has undertaken to prepare them for the Bejiing Olympics. Here is a list of some of the initiatives the world superpower is undertaking. For a complete list check it out here.

  1. China is building 14 new wastewater treatment facilities, with the goal of increasing waste water treatment to 90 percent in both the city center and surrounding towns.
  2. China had a goal to increase sufficient water treatment for tap water from 42 percent in 2001 to 70 percent in Beijing. The tap water goal has been scaled back to focus only on the Olympic Village, postponing potable tap water for the whole city until after 2008.
  3. The national stadium drinking water project will use pretreatment and reverse osmosis to provide over 500 gallons per minute of drinking water (~500,000 bottles of water per day).
  4. A rainwater recycling project at the national stadium will recycle rainwater using underground pools and water will be re-used for landscaping, fire-fighting, and cleaning ( Capacity is about 80 tons per hour). This is a first for China.
  5. Qinghe Water Reuse Project—the largest municipal wastewater membrane reuse project in China—will supply water for the Olympic lake, landscaping, and non-drinking water applications in the Olympic Village.
  6. More than 150 million cubic meters (39.6 billion gallons) of water are being diverted from the Yellow River through a network of canals stretching across three provinces to refill a lake south of the historically drought-stricken Chinese capital.

As you can see, this is no small undertaking, and it is clearly going to take a huge toll on China’s already drought-strained resources. My question, as a local Vancouverite, is how much impact are the Olympics going to have on our water supply and what are the long term effects?

I am in the process of discovering this information and I will post more once I find out. In any event, it will be interesting to watch the success or failure of China’s water system will be on showcase when millions tune in for the event in 56 days.

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