KINMEN -- A historic contract was signed to supply Kinmen with water from the coastal Chinese mainland province of Fujian, which is only miles away from the Taiwan islet on Monday.
With a total investment of 387.8 million yuan (62.46 million U.S. dollars), The deal took 20 years of technical study and negotiations.
It will provide a daily water supply capacity of 34,000 cubic meters via a 27.56-kilometer water conveyance line that will be built to deliver water from Fujian's major river Jinjiang to Kinmen to ease its water shortage.
Under the contract, Fujian will be responsible for the construction of the 11.6-km pipeline on its land areas, while Kinmen will invest in and build the 15.76-km undersea pipeline and0.2-km pipeline on its land areas.
The price has been fixed at 9.86 New Taiwan Dollars (around 0.32 U.S. dollars) per cubic meter by both sides.
Kinmen, which is separated from Fujian by a narrow body of water, used to be wartime frontline after relations between the mainland and Taiwan stalled when the Kuomintang (KMT) forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan in 1949 after civil war. With improved ties across the Taiwan Strait, the former battlefield is now the frontline of exchanges and cooperation.
Since Kinmen authorities put forward the proposal to divert water from Fujian in 1995, technical research and negotiations between the two sides have continued.
The process was expedited after the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) publicized a consensus on solving Kinmen's water problem in June 2013.
During a meeting between the chiefs of cross-Strait affairs from the mainland and Taiwan in May, the two sides agreed to facilitate the inking of the contract and to start construction at an early date.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Fujian Governor Su Shulin said the people of Kinmen have been looking forward to the water supply project for 20 years. "Inking the contract is only a milestone, both sides should next make joint efforts to start the project and make the water flow at an early date."
Kinmen county head Chen Fu-hai said the project could serve as a feasible model for cross-Strait exchanges concerning people's welfare, and help set a good foundation for the two sides to engage in win-win cooperation and achieve mutual prosperity. Enditem