The "construction workers" aren't paid laborers either
-- they're local residents who have simply walked out of their homes and started hacking
into the road.
For water. They lift tiles off the pavements and dig
until they hit ground water.
"Who would dig up wells if there's enough water? There's
just no water," said one resident who would only give his surname, Yin. His family
had been suffering from water shortages on and off for months until they decided to
take matters into their own hands.
The Shuimo Community in Haidian district has grown
rapidly and authorities have been unable to cope with the growing demand for water.
"We started receiving complaints from residents about
water shortages since the end of July," said Liu Zhongmin, head of the Water Resources
Office in the Department of Water Affairs of Haidian District. "We're aware of local
residents digging wells to get water. These are illegal constructions and should be
But any plans to fix the water supply problem have
been delayed. "We don't plan to do anything at this point as it'll spark tensions
between us and residents," said Liu.
He explained that any work on the pipelines in the
neighborhood would not be straightforward.
The community has grown from 1,000 residents to more
than 8,000 in recent years, and new residents have occupied roads where pipelines
are buried under their houses, according to Liu.
For the near future, residents see only one way out
of the situation.
"Everybody knows we're not allowed to dig wells here
but what else can we do? Who can solve the problem?" asks Yin. He adds that a well
costs as much as RMB 40,000 (about $6,500) to complete.
Freshwater supplies in China have been increasingly
strained in recent years. A growing population, industrial development and widespread
pollution pushes the lack of freshwater to crisis levels, according to China Water Risk
.By Dayu Zhang and Zoe Li, CNN