South-North Water Diversion Project

Yangtze water diversion scheme will impact environment

Three Gorges Probe

October 10, 2001

Commenting on an official assessment of a controversial scheme to divert water from the Yangtze River Basin to northern China, the Vice-Minister of Water Resources, Suo Linseng, admitted to Xinhua news agency yesterday that there would be “some impact on the natural environment,” reports South China Morning Post. The colossal diversion project, made up of three routes, involves the construction of thousands of kilometres of canals and aqueducts across the heart of China to transport about half the Yangtze’s fresh water to northern China – plagued by water shortages.


Like the mammoth Three Gorges dam near Yichang in Sichuan province, the diversion project is an ambitious undertaking by the Chinese government to deal with the country’s increasingly serious water problem. But authorities are concerned about the immense cost of the project and the polluted Yangtze – a major challenge to the diversion scheme’s success.

Authorities are less concerned about the back flow of sea water into the mouth of the Yangtze during dry seasons, which would upset the river level downstream of the completed project.

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