Pollution Causes Drinking Water Shortage in Wuxi

By Ye Bing, Voice of America
June 4, 2007 Updated: June 4, 2007

The quality of water supply has suddenly deteriorated in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, Wuxi citizens are suffering from a severe water shortage.

According to an official report, the water quality deterioration was caused by algae overgrowth in the water source, Taihu Lake; but environmentalist and local farmers say the sudden change is most likely caused by pollution.

Water Changed Overnight

Since May 29, the water supply of many Wuxi families has developed a powerful stench and is undrinkable; people have become nauseated after eating rice cooked with this water. The source of the water supply—Taihu Lake—also turned green over night.

According to the CCP news and propaganda agency agency Xinhua Net, this summer the water level on Taihu Lake hit a record low for the past 50 years. Other factors contributed to this unusual occurrence such as recent high temperatures and low rain fall. Also algae overgrowth in Taihu Lake happened earlier than normal this year, which affected the quality of water supply.

The news of the water shortage spread very quickly on the Internet and all bottled water has been completely sold out.

Mrs. Pan, a water vender in Wangzhuang county, Wuxi city, said that all her stock of mineral water and pure water had been sold out; even the wholesalers are out of supply.

Whistleblower Arrested

When asked to comment about the relationship between the water quality and pollution on Taihu Lake, a Beijing media worker, who is very concerned about environmental issues, became very emotional.

She said, “On April 13, an environmental volunteer worker, who is also a farmer, who had worked with us to protect Taihu Lake in the past, was arrested and detained. The charge is blackmail, but the real reason is that he reported on many companies who illegally discharged pollution into the lake, and for that reason he had been beaten and detained on many occasions in the past; currently he is still in jail. We are working towards his release.”

The volunteer worker, Wu Lihong, has been awarded as one of the ten “China Civil Environmental Protection Heroes.” According to Beijing News report, for the past ten years Wu has reported over 2,000 companies for illegally discharging pollution into Taihu Lake.