Beijing Water

China turns to drastic measures to avoid water crisis

China will soon turn on the taps of the world’s biggest water-diversion project. CBS News reports.

In an effort to solve severe water shortages in the parched north of the country, the Chinese government is building nearly 2,700 miles of waterways — or enough waterways to stretch from New York to Los Angeles — to move water from the south (home to four-fifths of China’s fresh water) to its populous north by connecting existing bodies of water, Seth Doane for CBS News reports. In the process, 350,000 people have been uprooted to make way for the $US80-billion geo-engineering giant.

CBS News asked one of these resettlers, Zhang Xiaofeng, if she had wanted to come to the place — dubbed “Harmony” — she now found herself in.

“It does not matter if you’re willing or not,” Zhang told CBS’ Seth Doane. “We had to move here. If we didn’t our home would be under water.”

Zhang, who used to sell jade but now sells whatever she can, said her suffering is worth it for more people to have water, leaving Doane to wonder if she was “being serious or just being polite?” [To read more on the resettlement project, see: Residents struggle in China’s “model community” as millions set to be resettled].

High-profile Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun told CBS News he felt the project represented a short-term “emergency measure.”

“I wouldn’t call this a real final solution because the current volume of transfer will not be enough to fill up the gap,” he said, adding that he feared the water supply for some cities may someday run out.

Read the CBS News report in full here.

For Probe International’s South-North Water Diversion Project archive, see here.

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