Salt forces south China cities to go upstream for water

Salty tap water that affects up to 50 million people has forced the Asian gambling hub Macau and its sister city Zhuhai to hastily build a pipeline to access water further upstream, Reuters said on Monday, citing a water official.

The problem has become worse in recent years as the flow of water down the western tributaries of the Pearl River slowed and the sea level rose, allowing salt water to spread further inland.

Drought, hydroelectric dams and sand dredging in rivers have compounded the problem, said Fan Xiaojun, deputy general manager of the Macao Water Supply Co. Ltd., which manages water in the former Portuguese colony.

The new pipe draws water 22 km (14 miles) upstream from where Macau and Zhuhai previously sourced their fresh water, and can take in 1 million cubic metres a day.

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