Bei­jing’s an­swer to thirst? Move rivers

A mas­sive project will es­sen­tially re­ar­range China’s wa­ter sup­ply.

Los Angeles Times - - Front Page - Bar­bara Demick re­port­ing from zhengzhou, china

It might be the most am­bi­tious con­struc­tion project in China since the Great Wall.

The Chi­nese govern­ment is plan­ning to reroute the nation’s wa­ter sup­ply, bring­ing wa­ter from the flood plains of the south and the snow­capped moun­tains of the west to the parched cap­i­tal of Bei­jing.

First en­vi­sioned by Mao Tse-tung in the 1950s and now com­ing to fruition, the South-North Wa­ter Di­ver­sion, as it is in­el­e­gantly known in English, has a price tag of more than $62 bil­lion, twice as ex­pen­sive as the fa­mous Three Gorges Dam. It is ex­pected to take decades to com­plete.

“This is on a par with the Great Wall, a project es­sen­tial for the sur­vival of China,” said Wang Shushan, who heads the project in He­nan prov­ince, where much of the con­struc­tion is now tak­ing place. “It is a must-do project. We can’t af­ford to wait.”

Even by the stan­dards of a coun­try where mov­ing heaven and Earth is all in a day’s work, it is a project of enor­mous hubris. In ef­fect, the Chi­nese are “re­plumb­ing” the en­tire coun­try, says Orville Schell, a China scholar and an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, some­thing “no coun­try has

A mas­sive project will reroute the coun­try’s wa­ter, bring­ing it from the south to Bei­jing via three canals. The 766-mile mid­dle route will in­clude an aqueduct built un­der the pol­luted Yel­low River.

Jonathan Watts

TUN­NEL VI­SION: En­gi­neer Han Jip­ing in an aqueduct be­ing built in China’s He­nan prov­ince. Wa­ter will be rerouted from the wet south to the dry north.

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