BEIJING: The high demand for artificial snow at the Beijing Winter Olympics will have a minimal effect on the local water supply, the organizers said on Thursday.
Water needed for snow making at the Yanqing zone where sliding and alpine skiing will be staged in February will account for just 1.6% of water used in the area, spokesman Zhao Weidong said at a news briefing.
“The man-made snow will not affect the local water usage," Zhao said.
The water for the Yanqing zone will come from the Foyukou and Baihebao Reservoirs. Beijing is notoriously cold and dry during the winter and environmentalists have expressed concerns about the effect of snow making on surrounding areas.
Other outdoor events will be held in the neighboring province of Hebei where natural snow is usually more plentiful.
Zhao also said a third athlete had been quarantined for testing positive for COVID-19 after two athletes were quarantined during ongoing luge test events. All three have been transferred to a quarantine hotel “according to requirement," Zhao said.
None have shown symptoms and are allowed to continue training while living and dining separately. Authorities have not released their names or nationalities but said the two who earlier tested positive arrived on a charter flight while the most recent case was in close contact with them.
Around 1,500 competitors and staff have come into the country since the test events began in early October.
China has among the strictest COVID prevention policies in the world. Entry to the country is highly restricted, and virtually everyone who does must quarantine in a hotel for at least two weeks, even if they are vaccinated and test negative.
The quarantine requirement is being waived for the test events and the Games, but participants must live and compete in isolation from the rest of the population in China.
The Games are being held from Feb. 4-20 amid uncertainty over the direction of the pandemic and protests over China's human rights record.