Chinese authorities cut off tap water in city of 500,000 over pollution fears

BY Ellen Rolfes  May 9, 2014 at 6:50 PM EDT

Fujian's Jin River, seen from Quanzhou's Zitong Bridge, looking upstream. Authorities shut off tap water in the region due to pollution of an unknown origin. Photo from wikimedia commons

Fujian’s Jin River, seen from Quanzhou’s Zitong Bridge, looking upstream. Authorities shut off tap water in the region due to pollution of an unknown origin. Photo from wikimedia commons

Don’t drink the water in Jingjiang. Due to high levels of an unnamed contaminant, authorities have cut off the tap water in the Yangtze River city of about a half million people.

“We don’t have the results yet and we don’t know the source of the pollution,” an employee at the local environment protection bureau told Financial Times. The area is home to several heavy industries, any of which could be responsible. China has seen water quality issues skyrocket in the last decade, caused by everything from oil contamination to dead farm animals.

Unchecked development in China has led to so much water contamination that three-fiths of all underground water is unpotable, according to recent studies.

China plans to release a national water pollution plan later in 2014.