SHANGHAI, Jul 4 -- ABOUT 200,000 residents of Shuyang County in Jiangsu Province have had their tap water cut off for 40 hours because of pollution that may have come from chemical companies in Shandong Province in the upper reaches of Xinyi River, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
The county has sent representatives to negotiate with the Shandong companies, the report said.
The county has opened 33 wells and 13 pumping stations to release water to ease demand and diverted water from Hongze Lake to dilute the polluted water source, the report said.
Inspectors on Monday found the county's water plant was contaminated by pollutants from the upper reaches of Xinyi River. The water was smelly and contained excessive ammonia and nitrogen, the report said.
The county then closed the water supply system and traced the pollutant source along Xinyi River.
Shuyuan Tap Water Co Ltd promised to exempt local residents from water fee until the polluted water was treated, the report said.
China faces a mounting crisis in providing clean water. Massive blue-green algae growths were reported on Taihu Lake and Chaohu Lake in East China and in Dianchi Lake in Southwest China in May and June endangering the supply of local tap water.
The blue-green algae outbreak in Taihu contaminated the drinking supply of two million residents in Wuxi in Jiangsu Province in May. The city's tap water supply was restored to normal after a fortnight's purification program.
The National Development and Reform Commission has asked the public to give their opinion on treating the Taihu water.
Premier Wen Jiabao vowed on Saturday to tackle algae outbreaks that plague the country's freshwater lakes and urged government officials to enhance environmental management.
The country's environment watchdog yesterday ordered 32 companies to stop production for violations of pollution limits.