China's geological exploration researchers have recently found drinkable underground fresh water resources near the Yongshu Reef, which can help improve the lives of officers and soldiers on the reef.
For a long time, the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea lacked essential materials necessary for life. As a result, even logistical support for people living on big islands and reefs depended on long-distance transportation, leading to very high costs.
The Yongshu Reef is 750 nautical miles (about 1,389 kilometers) from the Chinese mainland. China has established the airfield, runway and basic living facilities on this reef. Ten officers and soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have stationed on the reef since 2017.
However, the living conditions on the reef are undoubtedly very difficult. Food needs to be transported from the mainland and drinking water mainly depends on seawater desalination. The reef does not have the conditions for providing material supplies for fishermen fishing in the South China Sea. In order to solve these problems, China has spared no effort in finding fresh water resources.
The Chinese military sent an exploration team led by military engineering and technical experts to the Yongshu Reef to explore groundwater resources in 2016. The team arranged 27 exploring points for drilling surveys within 0.6 square kilometers of the Yongshu Reef. Finally, groundwater was found in 11 of the 27 points.
This newly discovered rich groundwater reserve is of good quality and potable. The discovery solved the problem of domestic water use on the reef. Moreover, relying on the excellent ability of the Chinese people, who excel at growing vegetables, the logistical support on the reef has been much facilitated.
Currently, the fresh water storage lake built on the Yongshu Reef can meet the basic life needs on the island. These fresh water resources can help improve the lives of officers and soldiers on the reef.
Moreover, fishermen who go fishing in the South China Sea can also stop on the island to find shelter or replenishment. This is of great significance for China to strengthen management and control over the Nansha Islands.