Planned wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­jects en­cour­aged to go ahead

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZOU SHUO [email protected]­

Ef­forts will be made to en­sure that all wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­jects pro­posed sev­eral years ago are launched by 2020, the Min­istry of Wa­ter Re­sources said on Thurs­day.

A small num­ber of pro­jects re­quir­ing in-depth re­search will ac­count for those not started, the min­istry said.

Most of the key wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­jects will be com­pleted and will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in im­prov­ing flood and drought preven­tion and con­trol by 2025, Wang An­nan, chief plan­ner of the min­istry, said at a State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice news con­fer­ence.

The cen­tral au­thor­i­ties de­cided in 2014 to es­tab­lish 172 ma­jor wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­jects. To date, 134 have been ap­proved, Wang said, while 132 have started con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing 23 that have been com­pleted.

The in­vest­ment in the on­go­ing con­struc­tion of wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­jects ex­ceeds 1 tril­lion yuan ($145 bil­lion), he added.

Among the 132 pro­jects that have com­menced, 75 per­cent are in cen­tral and western re­gions and 56 per­cent are in poverty-stricken ar­eas. All have played an im­por­tant role in ac­cel­er­at­ing re­gional devel­op­ment and poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, Wang said.

Key wa­ter con­ser­vancy pro­jects can ef­fec­tively drive the devel­op­ment of rel­e­vant in­dus­tries, ac­cel­er­ate em­ploy­ment and in­crease the in­come of farm­ers, he added.

Wang said the first phases of the mid­dle and eastern routes of the South-to-North Wa­ter Di­ver­sion project have trans­ferred 22 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter.

The project has pro­vided ad­e­quate and re­li­able wa­ter sources for Bei­jing and Tian­jin and 33 cities in North China, sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved the en­vi­ron­ment along the routes, and re­duced the ex­ploita­tion of ground­wa­ter, he said.

The wa­ter di­ver­sion project, the world’s largest — with an es­ti­mated cost of 500 bil­lion yuan — is de­signed to take wa­ter from China’s long­est river, the Yangtze, through eastern, mid­dle and western routes to feed dry ar­eas in the north.

The mid­dle route is the most at­ten­tion-grab­bing of the three due to its role in bring­ing wa­ter to the Chi­nese cap­i­tal. It started sup­ply­ing wa­ter on Dec 12, 2014. It be­gins at the Dan­jiangkou Reser­voir in Cen­tral China’s Hubei prov­ince and runs through He­nan and He­bei prov­inces be­fore reach­ing Bei­jing and Tian­jin.

The first phase of the eastern route started op­er­a­tion in Novem­ber 2013, trans­port­ing wa­ter to Shan­dong prov­ince. The western route has not yet opened.

An­other key wa­ter con­ser­vancy project, the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, Hubei, has gen­er­ated more than 1 tril­lion kWh of clean elec­tric­ity since be­ing launched in 1993, Wang said.

The to­tal ship lock through­put at the dam has reached 1.11 bil­lion met­ric tons, with yearly through­put ex­ceed­ing 130 mil­lion tons, seven times the vol­ume be­fore the dam was built, he said.

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