Salinity keeps rising despite assurances Dwindling reserves are continuing to push up the salinity of Zhuhai's and Macau's drinking water after the latest failure to draw supplies from the Xijiang, or West River. Local media have again warned of rationing in Macau after Zhuhai cut off supplies to its bathhouses and car-wash businesses. Zhuhai's tap water has recently reached a salinity level of 800mg a litre, more than three times the World Health Organisation's standard of 250mg a litre and up from 600mg recorded earlier this month. In January Macau suffered the 'most serious salinity crisis we've had in the past 20 years', according to Franklin Willemyns, executive director of the Macau Water Supply Company. 'Our prediction right now is that in any case the situation will not get worse,' he was quoted as saying at the time. In recent weeks the city has been struggling to supply raw water to Macau at a salinity of 600mg a litre. As a result, the salinity level of Macau's drinking water is drawing close to 600mg a litre. However, the Macau Water Supply Company has renewed its pledged not to introduce water restrictions. 'Our bottom line is not to ration water. In the worst scenario, we would have to drink whatever is supplied [at any salinity],' said Felix Fan, the company's deputy general manager. He predicted that the salinity of Macau's raw water supply from Zhuhai would soon rise to about 750mg per litre. Zhuhai's water supply to Macau can be kept under 800mg a litre for less than two weeks. The next collection cycle in early March will be crucial for drawing fresh water from upstream. A fortnightly effort to 'grab' fresh water from the West River has failed twice in the past month. A severe drought had also left the West River's flow too weak to dilute the salt tides, said Mr Fan. Three Zhuhai storage facilities for supplying Macau have a combined reserve of less than 3 million cubic metres. Macau consumes on average over 170,000 cubic metres of water a day, with its main storage reservoir holding 690,000 cubic metres.