Wa­ter di­ver­sion set to ben­e­fit Shan­dong

Project will quench the thirst for parched north­ern part of coun­try

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By JIN ZHU jinzhu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shan­dong prov­ince will get about 34 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters of clean wa­ter in the first use of the South-to-North Wa­ter Di­ver­sion Project’s east route, au­thor­i­ties said.

The wa­ter di­ver­sion, which be­gan on Nov 15, will end on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to the State Coun­cil’s Of­fice of the SNWD Project Com­mis­sion.

The first phase of the east route, com­pleted in March, brings wa­ter from the Yangtze River at Jiangsu prov­ince’s Jiangdu to Shan­dong along the Bei­jing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.

The east route’s first phase, which cost more than 50 bil­lion yuan ($ 8.2 bil­lion), is ex­pected to sup­ply up to 8.77 bil­lion cu m of wa­ter to Jiangsu, An­hui and Shan­dong prov­inces ev­ery year, ben­e­fit­ing about 100 mil­lion peo­ple, the SNWD project of­fice said.

“The amount of wa­ter sup­plied will be ad­justed an­nu­ally ac­cord­ing to the short­ages in those prov­inces as well as the in­flow in the route’s up­per reaches,” said an of­fi­cial with the SNWD project of­fice who de­clined to give his name.

The world’s largest wa­ter di­ver­sion pro­gram will move 44.8 bil­lion cu m of wa­ter a year from the wa­ter- rich south via east­ern, cen­tral and western routes to the arid north, in­clud­ing Bei­jing.

The an­nual wa­ter short­age in Shan­dong is 4 to 5 bil­lion cu m, ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial wa­ter re­sources depart­ment last year.

“The av­er­age per capita quan­tity of wa­ter in Shan­dong is about 322 cu m, less than a sixth of the quan­tity per capita in China,” said Yang Jianwei, a Shan­dong of­fi­cial in charge of the project.

“The first phase of the east­ern route will trans­fer an av­er­age of 1.35 bil­lion cu m to the prov­ince a year, which will greatly quench its thirst,” he said.

The di­verted wa­ter will mainly sat­isfy the in­creas­ing de­mand of ur­ban res­i­dents and in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, plus sec­tors like agri­cul­ture and nav­i­ga­tion.

The wa­ter’s price will be higher than lo­cal wa­ter sources, Yang said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

Since Novem­ber 2012, tests have found wa­ter qual­ity of the east­ern route’s trunk canals is at least Grade III, the min­i­mum stan­dard for drink­ing-wa­ter sources, ac­cord­ing to the SNWD project of­fice.

Real- time mon­i­tor­ing of wa­ter qual­ity on the route has be­gun, the of­fice said.

On Sun­day, China’s top lead­ers wel­comed ma­jor progress at the South- toNorth Wa­ter Di­ver­sion Project and called for fur­ther ef­forts to en­sure the suc­cess of fol­low­ing con­struc­tion work.

“We should strengthen man­age­ment and keep work­ing to en­sure steady progress on the project and sta­ble wa­ter qual­ity,” Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said.

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and Vice- Pre­mier Zhang Gaoli, also di­rec­tor of the project’s con­struc­tion com­mit­tee, stressed the im­por­tance of the work, in­clud­ing en­sur­ing wa­ter qual­ity, pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and avoid­ing safety is­sues, to fully tap the project’s eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits.

The first phase of the cen­tral route, sched­uled to be fin­ished this year, will sup­ply wa­ter from the Dan­jiangkou Reser­voir in Hubei prov­ince to north­ern cities, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Tian­jin, Shi­ji­azhuang and Zhengzhou, be­gin­ning in 2014.

The western route, which will re­plen­ish the Yel­low River with wa­ter di­verted from the up­per reaches of the Yangtze River, is still in the plan­ning stage. Zhao Ruixue in Ji­nan con­trib­uted to this story.

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