Beijing Water

One of city’s famed 8 scenic spots to be restored at Lugou Bridge

(September 20, 2010) Lugou Xiaoyue, or the moon over the Lugou Bridge at dawn, known as one of the “Eight Scenic Spots of Yanjing [Beijing],” will make a comeback during this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival, 30 years after the Yongding River dried up.

Decades of deforestation, depletion of underground water reserves and the increase in pollutants discharged by industrial factories gradually dried up the Yongding River, according to ifeng.com.

Water storage work on nearby Wanping Lake, one of six major lakes on the river, started on August 31, and 470,000 cubic meters of water has been stored to date. Visitors to the bridge will be able to enjoy the moon and scenery of the lake during the festival, but can’t go near the lakeside or venture into the water because the storage project is not yet complete, Zhang Minqiu, an official of the Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design General Institute told the Beijing Evening News Sunday.

The Fengtai district water authorities have built 28 rainfall-collecting lakes on the lower reaches of Wanping Lake, which can store 1.5 million cubic meters of water every year. Lugou Xiaoyue will never disappear again, according to the Beijing Morning Post.

However, it will also never return to its former glory. “Restoring the landscape of the lake could never be the priority of the Yongding River’s ecological rehabilitation,” Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs told the Global Times Sunday.

An enclosed, artificial lake would be the only way to get back the natural scenery of 800 years ago, and to focus on such a thing would divert critical attention from the acute water shortage problem. Ma said, “Actually, without the surging water flowing along the Yongding River, Lugou Xiaoyue will never be the same as it was during the Ming and Qing dynasties.”

Ma suggested that the government instead exert more effort to bring water pollution under control and reduce land degradation.

The government will have invested 1.4 billion yuan ($208.21 million) to restore the ecological landscape along the river by 2014, according to the Yongding River ecological landscape design plan carried out by water resource authorities early this year.

Reclaimed wastewater will be the main source of the water stored for the Yongding River, and Beijing has renovated its downtown sewage treatment plants to improve the quality of water discharged into the river, according to Chen Jing, director of the Beijing Water Resources Authority, at the fourth Beijing economic development forum on September 9. Chen believed the ecological rehabilitation project would help control soil loss to the degree it could extinguish particle pollution in Beijing.

Zhang Hui, Global Times, September 20, 2010

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Categories: Beijing Water

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