China makes headway in integrating major rivers

China makes headway in integrating major rivers

 China achieved a breakthrough in diverting waters to arid regions in the country as it formally inaugurated the first phase of the five decade-long project to integrate waters from the mighty Yangtze and Yellow rivers.

Water from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China's longest and world's third longest river, was able to run through the lower reaches of the Yellow River, the county's second longest river, thanks to the progress of China's south-north water diversion project, official media here reported.

It was a landmark success of the first phase of the eastern route of the south-north water diversion project, which kicked off in 2002 and is expected to send water in the third quarter of 2013, state-run Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Water from the Yangtze River is expected to arrive within 72 hours in the Datun Reservoir in east China's Shandong Province, the northern end of the project, according to the provincial construction management bureau of the south-to-north water diversion project.
Datun Reservoir, located in Wucheng County, is more than 700 km away from its starting point in Yangzhou city of the neighbouring Jiangsu Province to the south of Shandong.

Some 1.5 billion cubic metres of water from the Yangtze River is expected to be sent to Shandong each year after the operation of the first phase of the eastern route project, which will ease the serious water shortage in the booming province, the report said.
The south-north water diversion project was first conceived by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952 and the State Council, or China's Cabinet, approved the ambitious project in December 2002 after debates that lasted nearly a half century.

Millions of people were relocated and environmentalists also expressed concern over its adverse implications for ecological conditions as it impacted several provinces.

The project, with an estimated total cost of USD 81 billion, has aroused global concerns over land use, possible regional climate changes, environmental damage, impact on agriculture and human suffering in the wake of massive relocations.

The project plans to divert 44.8 billion cubic metres of water annually from the Yangtze through eastern, middle and western routes to relieve water shortages in north China by 2050.

The construction of the 1,467-km-long eastern route began in December 2002 and is expected to supply water to northern China by the end of 2013.

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