But academics say capital should pay more for water taken from dry province Treatment plant upgrades and supplies from neighbouring Hebei province will ensure Beijing has enough water for the 2008 Olympics, the capital's water authority says. But Hebei itself is suffering a water shortage of up to 6 billion tonnes a year, and an academic has said the capital should pay more for the water it takes. Beijing Water Authority supply office director Hu Bo said the network servicing metropolitan Beijing could supply 2.75 million tonnes of water a day, well above last year's peak demand of 2.42 million tonnes but on par with anticipated needs for the Games. 'We expect that during the Olympics the maximum water demand will be between 2.7 million and 2.75 million tonnes, so our capacity would be stretched to the limit [without the upgrades],' Mr Hu said. To ensure the city has enough drinkable water, authorities would spend 500 million yuan to upgrade three treatment plants by the end of next year, raising daily supply to at least 3 million tonnes, said Bai Diqi , chief engineer of the Beijing Waterworks Group. The South-North Water Diversion Project will also channel 300 million tonnes of water to Beijing from four Hebei reservoirs by 2008. In 2010, when the entire project is completed, 1 billion tonnes of water from the Yangtze River will make its way to Beijing every year. Water Authority spokesman Bi Xiaogang said Beijing had raised co-operation with upstream areas. 'We offered economic and technical support. Beijing allocated some funds to Chicheng county in Hebei province upstream of the Miyun Reservoir to help them adopt new crops so they can save on water to supplement the Miyun reservoir,' Mr Bi said. He said the State Council had endorsed efforts to supplement Beijing's supplies, but analysts say Hebei has been reluctant to give Beijing water for free. Yang Lianyun , of the Hebei Academy of Social Science, said Beijing should consider paying Hebei more for its water. 'Beijing needs Hebei's water, but it impacts on Hebei's industrial and agricultural development,' Professor Yang said. He said rice farming in some productive areas in Chicheng county had to be stopped so the water could be used in Beijing, and Hebei suffered annual water shortfalls of up to 6 billion tonnes. Professor Yang said it cost about 2 yuan per tonne to channel water from Hebei to Beijing, but last year Beijing only paid 0.1 yuan per tonne supplied. 'We could sell water to Beijing or Beijing could make a long-term investment to protect water resources and ensure it is allocated reasonably. The central government, Beijing, neighbouring Tianjin and Hebei should work together to protect and utilise water,' he said.