March 2, 2006
Despite concerns among environmental experts that cheaper, safer alternatives are being overlooked, officials have announced they are firmly embarked on the massive south-north water transfer scheme, aimed at solving China’s deepening water crisis.
“This used to be wasteland,” said Dragon Li of the lush fairways lining the Grand Canal Golf Club outside Beijing. Yet nature still threatens Li‚Äôs four-year-old miracle, wrought with irrigation and fertilizer on the sandy banks of the world‚Äôs longest, oldest man-made waterway. “The rivers and wells ran dry this summer,” he admitted from the mock-imperial splendor of the clubhouse. “But things may get better once the south-north water transfer project is finished.” Some 1,400 years after a ruthless Chinese emperor built the Grand Canal, uniting waterways already one millennium old, the Chinese Communist Party is pushing ahead with Chairman Mao’s grandiose plan to build three more. The 500 billion yuan (US$60.4 billion) project will divert water from the Yangtze River in flood-prone south China to revive millions of peasants‚Äîand Li‚Äôs country club clients‚Äîon the parched plains of north China. Off the ground Despite concerns among environmental experts that cheaper, safer alternatives are being overlooked, officials in Beijing yesterday announced they are finally and firmly embarked on this solution, first proposed five decades ago, to solve China’s deepening water crisis. Although the central government will use domestic banks instead of foreign ones to borrow between 20 percent and 30 percent of the total investment, foreign firms will be invited to bid on consultancy contracts and software and machinery purchases.
Categories: South-North Water Diversion Project