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Making good on Mao: China begins massive water transfer project, worlds largest

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By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
12/16/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

China has fifth of world's population, but only seven percent of freshwater resources

China has made good on one of the late Chairman Mao's visions with the world's largest transfer project. Those living in the dry, Northern provinces turned on their taps December 12 and enjoyed water from all the way in the distant Hubei province. Invention followed necessity, as China has a fifth of the planet's population but only seven percent of its freshwater resources. The result is the world's biggest ever water transfer project.

Once the final western leg of the project is completed, the canal system will reroute roughly 45 billion cubic meters of water annually across the country.

Once the final western leg of the project is completed, the canal system will reroute roughly 45 billion cubic meters of water annually across the country.

Highlights

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/16/2014 (4 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Water transfer, China, world's largest, India


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to state-run Global Times, the project is a series of canals stretching 890 miles across northeastern China. Eventually, the project will annually transport an estimated 9.5 billion cubic meters of water from central China to major cities on the north China plain, such as Beijing and Tianjin.

Once the final western leg of the project is completed, the canal system will reroute roughly 45 billion cubic meters of water annually across the country.

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Once the final western leg of the project is completed, the canal system will reroute roughly 45 bil

Once the final western leg of the project is completed, the canal system will reroute roughly 45 billion cubic meters of water annually across the country.


This news is not universally welcomed with open arms. There are quite a few Alarmed Chinese geologists, which have raised questions about the costs and feasibility of drilling tunnels through western mountains to build aqueducts. It's come with a hefty price tag. Construction costs for the first two legs have already reached nearly $80 billion.

In addition there are scientists have raised many concerns about the potential unintended impacts of remaking China's river geography. Officials say we won't see the full consequences for years. Top worries include the unknown effects on regional ecosystems; the impacts from climate change. For example, with altered weather patterns, will there even be enough water available to be transferred? There is also the issue of the extent of pollution in China's rivers. Will there be adequate steps be taken to ensure the water quality in city faucets?

One very interested party may be India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It's possible that he's watching to see how China's experiment fares. His government appears to reviving an old plan for its own National River Linking Project, a massive 9,320-mile scheme to redirect rivers to India's parched agricultural lands.

While the plan has been put on hold for many years, Modi approved construction of the first link in July. Whether India could actually pull off such a vast engineering feat . and whether it is scientifically advisable, remains to be seen.

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