New water-saving regulation takes effect in Beijing

A worker sprays a bush with water in Beijing, Sept 21, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)

BEIJING – A new regulation on saving water in Beijing took effect Wednesday, providing stronger legal protection for water conservation efforts.

Home to more than 21 million people, Beijing has long been troubled by water scarcity

Compared with the previous decree, the regulation upgrades and improves the legal framework of water-saving measures and applies them to the entire process of water usage. The regulation also includes more comprehensive legal penalties for acts of water wastage.

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"In the past, we had no legal basis for punishing the illegal use of water for landscaping and fire fighting. Now, the new regulation clearly stipulates the punishment for the act," said Zhang Liang, an official with the Beijing Water Authority.

Zhang said that individuals and entities who illegally use water from public water facilities will be subject to fines of up to 10,000 yuan (about $1,446) and 100,000 yuan, respectively.

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Home to more than 21 million people, Beijing has long been troubled by water scarcity. A major portion of the city's water supply is now sourced from the south.

The South-to-North Water Diversion Project has transferred over 8.4 billion cubic meters of water from major rivers in the south of the country to the nation's capital from 2014 to 2022, according to the Beijing Water Authority.