efe-epaKinmen, Taiwan

Water spurted out from two slim pipes at the Tianpu Reservoir, as China Sunday started supplying drinking water to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen, off China's southeastern coast on Sunday morning.

Workers were seen pasting cut-outs of the phrase "Cross-Strait Water Supply Ceremony" in Chinese, on giant red balloons to celebrate the event, reported an efe-epa journalist on the ground.

The pipeline - set to run from the Fujian province to the Kinmen island, with a population of around 10,000 and a water shortage problem - would be transporting drinking water from the Longhu lake (second largest of Fujian province) to the island through a 28-kilometer (17.4-mile) long underwater pipeline.

The pipeline has a capacity to transport 34,000 cubic meters of water per day, which could be increased to 55,000 cubic meters in the future, reported Chinese state-owned Xinhua news agency.

The inauguration ceremony on the Chinese side was attended by the Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office Liu Jieyi, while on the Taiwanese side, where the ceremony was not considered official, it was attended only by the island's residents and contributors to the supply agreement.

The inauguration comes at a moment of mounting tension between Taipei and Beijing over sovereignty issues and has led to a stand-off between the local government at Kinmen and the central government of Taiwan.

Kinmen governor Chen Fu-hai had claimed the pipeline was an achievement of the local government.

The island of Kinmen has serious water supply problems, which have intensified in recent years due to increase in tourism from China.

In 2015, the island signed a 30-year water supply pact with China, which would help it cover 30 percent of its needs.

The central government, especially the council that looks after mainland China affairs, had earlier urged Kinmen to postpone the ceremony owing to China's continuing efforts to wipe out Taiwan from the international community.