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Around Town: Kunming municipal pump house

By in Travel on

As a result of the drought currently parching Yunnan, the reservoirs surrounding Kunming are becoming lower by the day. Those reservoirs provide most of Kunming's water and once they are empty there is little chance of replenishment until the rainy season starts, hopefully, in late May.

The specter of Kunming's taps suddenly running dry conjures many images for those of us who live here. Particularly stomach-turning to a resident of the Green Lake area must be the thought of resorting to the final source of water in the neighborhood: Green Lake itself.

In fact, during a cleaner and simpler time in Kunming's history a large number of residents did get their water from Green Lake.

GoKunming recently visited the two-room "History Museum of Kunming Water Supply" (昆明市自来水历史博物馆). The museum is inside present-day Green Lake Park, and is housed in the building that once pumped 1,000 cubic meters of water daily from Green Lake's spring-fed Nine Dragon Pond (九龙池) and along a 9.5 kilometer network of municipal water pipes.

The pump station was completed in 1917 and started operating in 1918. It continued to be used until 1957.

The current museum still contains what appear to be the two original French-made electric water pumps, along with a small collection of old photos and other curios, such as tokens that could be used to buy water from any of the more than 50 public water taps that were part of the system.

The museum is located inside the park's east gate, which is actually located in the southeast of the park. Visitors walking through the gate will see the museum about 100 meters directly ahead of them.

Entry to the museum is free and it is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

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