Fujian water flows into Taiwan amid tensions

Top News | AGENCIES 6 Aug 2018

Taiwan's outlying Kinmen county has started receiving fresh water from Fujian province through an undersea pipeline under a 30-year deal reached by both sides in 2015.

Kinmen agreed to buy up to an average of 34,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily at a cost of NT$9.86 (HK$2.53) per cubic meter, said Kinmen County Waterworks.

The volume can be expanded to 55,000 cubic meters in the water project in which the mainland invested 388 million yuan (HK$445.73 million), Xinhua News Agency said.

Taiwan spent NT$1.35 billion to build the 16-kilometer-long underground and underwater pipeline from Kinmen's Tianbu Reservoir to the coastal town of Jinjing in Fujian, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.

About 30 per cent of Kinmen's total water supply will be provided by the pipeline. Longhu Lake, Fujian's second largest lake, is the source of the water supply.

The agreement began to take effect at a time when cross-strait ties are strained by Beijing's growing military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan. China has sent its aircraft carrier to encircle Taiwan, flew bombers around the island, lured away members of Taiwan's dwindling allies and heightened its suppression of Taiwan in the international community.

The mainland has been accused by Taiwan's presidential office of bullying after members of the East Asian Olympic Committee voted in a meeting in Beijing on July 24 to revoke Taichung city's right to host the first-ever East Asian Youth Games next year.

The water deal seeks to end Kinmen's water shortages. Taiwan media quoted Kinmen county chief Chen Fu-hai as saying that the water deal will be followed by an "electricity link" and "bridge link" between Kinmen and Fujian.

Home to around 129,000, the outlying island group of Kinmen is located just kilometers off China's southeastern coast and is a half-hour ferry ride from the mainland.

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