Beijing to Turn Away Big Water-consuming Industries

China's drought-stricken capital is taking drastic measures to save water by turning away industries that consume large amounts of water in favor of low-water consumers.

Beijing will stop issuing business licenses to new projects in industries including textiles, leather, rubber, papermaking, chemicals, non-ferrous metal smelting and the processing of non-metal minerals, the China Daily said.

The Beijing Development and Reform Commission issued the order Tuesday.

Other businesses such as manufacturers of beverages, wine, plastic and pharmaceuticals, though not completely banned, will not be allowed to set up operations unless they meet water consumption limits, the notice said.

The city, meanwhile, has chosen six industries that use less water to promote.

They are information technology, automobiles, petrochemicals, medication and biotechnology, equipment and manufacturing and urban industries such as food and clothing production.

Zhang Yanyou, director of the commission's industry division, said the move was an important step for Beijing to become more water-conscious.

The city government has also set up a special fund to subsidize enterprises engaged in developing water-saving technology and products, including sewage treatment equipment, irrigation facilities and water-saving flush toilets, Zhang said.

Toilets using less than six liters of water for each flush will be preferred.

Experts estimated there are at least three million flush toilets in Beijing and if water-conserving toilets were used, it can save more than 90 million cubic meters of water every year, the report said.

Beijing's moves have been hailed by environmental experts.

"The market for water-saving devices is very large. There are at least 600,000 taps and 200,000 toilets leaking in Beijing," said Zhang Shouquan, a water expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The amount of water wasted by leaks every year almost equals to the annual output of a waterworks."


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