South-North Water Diversion Project

China to begin $17-billion Yangtze river diversion scheme next year

January 26, 2001

January 16, 2001 – China Daily reports that construction of China’s largest water diversion project is expected to begin in 2002. The State Council is expected to approve construction of the project’s east line late this year, sources with the Ministry of Water Resources said in Shanghai. In the next 15 years, construction of the east and middle lines are scheduled to be completed and put into operation. Zhang Guoliang, president of a special design administration, released a new abridged edition of the project, the most detailed ever published. The plan calls for 2,400-kilometre canals to be built in each of the first two phases of the project’s east and middle lines to link the Yangtze to the drought-stricken north. By 2015, the project will divert some 16 billion cubic metres of water from the Yangtze into areas north of the Yellow River that include the major cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang. The amount of water the entire project would transfer is roughly equal to the existing annual runoff of the Yellow River, China’s second longest river. The announcement confirmed the fact that China’s decision-makers finally feel compelled to dust off their five-decade-old water schemes to minimize worsening drought conditions and the water shortage crisis in northern China. Second only in construction scale to the mammoth Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze, this project has aroused public concern about its merits and what the quality and price of water will be in the north.

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Three Gorges Probe welcomes submissions. However, it is not a forum for political debate. Rather, Three Gorges Probe is dedicated to covering the scientific, technical, economic, social, and environmental ramifications of completing the Three Gorges Project, as well as the alternatives to the dam.

Publisher: Patricia Adams Executive Editor: Mu Lan Assistant Editor Lisa Peryman ISSN 1481-0913

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