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Liulangzhuang village site 2014-05-08, water water everywhere

June 9, 2014

konjaku: the site of the demolished Liulangzhuang is supposed to become part of the green zone. Apparently there are still a few hold-outs at the site, and construction of the park to replace the village has not started.

At the Liulangzhuang village site, running tap water has been flowing for two years with no one paying attention–clear fresh water gushing out

On 05-01, Beijing put into effect the new water pricing system, causing many ordinary citizens to newly experience in a direct way the value of water. As the media reported yesterday, the North China plain is already the world’s largest sinking water table. The area in which the ground is sinking or buckling because of excess water consumption is 8800 square kilometers, twelve times the area of Beijing city.

For the last few days, a number of citizens have phoned the hot line of this newspaper, saying that in the debris of the demolished village Liulangzhuang, clear pure water has been running out of the ground for more than two years, causing people to agonize over it.

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A murmuring stream in the thick grass

Haidian district Liulangzhuang is a village near the Summer Palace. Legend has it that the Empress Dowager Ci Xi stopped off at a teahouse here. According to residents nearby, Liulangzhuang used to be one of the largest villagers around here. At one time there were 50 or 60,000 people living in it, it was a small “city that never sleeps.” In 2011 the process of relocation began, and the residents gradually moved out, leaving behind a heap of rubble. In the midst of this rubble, there were tap water pipes which ruptured and were never repaired. For more than two years a great quantity of clear water has gushed out.

Yesterday afternoon, this reporter went along Haidian Park Road, entering the northern part of the village. Int his area there is no sign of any people, but the ground is filled with debris. and foraging stray dogs. Going west about 500 meters through the piles of rubble, I came upon a small stream. The water was no longer flowing, and its surface was covered with green moss. Even so, going near to a patch of thick grass, I heard the bubbling of water. Where was this sound coming from? I circled around to the other side, and found it emerged from under a slab, at the bottom of a debris pile. Prying up the slab, there was a pile of bricks and sowbugs. Taking away the bricks, I found an iron pipe with a hole in it. The water was coming out of this hole, making the bubbling sound. I filled an empty plastic bottle with this water, it was clear.

A man strolling by said, “this was once the tap water of the village residents, it’s only natural that it is clean water.” He said the water has been flowing for a long time, sometimes birds bathe in it. He said one time he heard birds calling and came to investigate, and to his surprise found a pair of mandarin ducks.

This reporter then headed southeast to the south of the village. Compared to where I had just come from, the situation here was more severe.

In a patch of vacant land, I found two sunken waterlogged areas. One was 10 to 20 meters square. The source of the water was two or three meters away, and looking off in that direction, I saw something like a fountain. Approaching it, I found a white plastic pipe, the thickness of a finger, sticking out of the ground. The water in it was under a lot of pressure, and was pouring out. A public security policeman passing by told this me, “This water is quite clean, I sometimes drink from it.” He said the waterlogged areas were from this source. “In dry Beijing, how else could they be there?”

To the west of the Liulangzhuang Elementary School, I found six more running water spots. Someone had installed pipes to catch the flow, making it easy to use the water. Even so, of the six, only two of these spots had faucets attached to turn off the flow. The rest still ran freely, making a huge waste.

In a pile of rubble 200 meters from the school, there were four running water spots. On these too pipes were installed, making it easy for anyone to use the water. Apparently people used them to wash their cars. “Anyway the water is clear, it doesn’t cost anything, might as well use it to bathe with.” This is what a village resident who had not yet relocated told this reporter. He said those who come here to wash their cars are not former village people, as one might expect, but the drivers of illegal taxis. For the last two or three years, this water has been flowing 24 hours a day. When the village was demolished, the pipes were broken, and no one has done anything about it. Speaking of the new water pricing system, the villager said that no one has come to the demolished village to collect water fees. The villager said, “I feel distressed at what I see, and I have installed faucets to stop the flow where I can, but there are many spots that honestly no one can find the source, and there is nothing that can be done.”

At the spot where the drivers of unlicensed taxis wash their cars, this reporter held out a 600 milliliter plastic bottle into the flow. It filled up in 3 seconds. This amounts to 12 liters of water disappearing every minute, 728 liters a day. 17.28 tons a day. Just from this one leak, calculating from the time Liulangzhuang was demolished in 2011, it comes to 20,000 tons of water. How much is this? Kunming Lake by the Summer Palace has stored in it 2 million tons of water.

Beixin photo net (

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