Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Water Diversion In Xinjiang


pic from China.notspecial.org


On April 17th, at Xinjiang Sub-venue of 6th China Environment Protection Conference, Smayi Tieliwardy, deputy secretary of CPC Xinjiang Committee, chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region emphasized that Xinjiang should put all efforts in the comprehensive harness of Tarim River Valley, Aby Lake River Valley and other key river valleys.

The 1,321 kilometre Tarim River runs west to east along the northern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, China's largest, and flows into Taitema Lake.

The river is the most important source of water in semi-arid Xinjiang, with more than 8 million people living in oases clustered along its banks and in an alluvial plain downstream.

Yet, due to the increasing population, excessive water use for irrigation, and random land reclamation upstream, lake Taitema has been drying up for three decades.

To prevent further deterioration of the ecosystem , the central government launched a five-year emergency water diversion programme in 2000 with 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) earmarked for the reclamation of the river and Taitema Lake.

The latest water diversion started in late March this year and water is now flowing into the river at a maximum speed of 50 cubic metres per second. Some 300 million cubic metres are expected to be diverted.

To date, a green corridor along the river between the 410,000-square-kilometre Taklimakan Desert on the east and Kuluke Desert on the west, is being revived thanks to the diverted water.

A stretch of 800 square kilometers of poplar (called huyang in Chinese), which locals believe has a legendary vitality for 1,000 years, has been rejuvenated along the river with the rising groundwater level, which so far has climbed by seven metres.

This water diversion programme is the most expensive environment restoration project ever taking place in Xinjiang.
source here and here

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