China: South-To-North Water Diversion

Needless to say that decrease of rate of rainfall will have serious impact in some regions of the world. China is challenging this issue. The northern area, which includes Beijing, is particularly concerned.

> "Beijing skyline; the main aim of the project is to ease the water shortage in northern China, particularly Beijing."
Originally appeared on Water Technology.
A study, led by Dao-Yi Gong, Pei-Jun Shi, Jing-Ai Wang, explains that this part, known to be semi-arid and fragile due to climate extreme, is becoming more and more vulnerable to rainfall shortage, climate change, human activities. This study, then, pointed out that:
> "Satellite view of a sandstorm over north-eastern China. By preserving groundwater, the water supplied by the
project is expected to help reduce sandstorms in this arid part of the country by the later part of this century."
Originally appeared on Water Technology.

[T]he long duration precipitation ≥ 3 days) event is found to decrease remarkably with a linear trend of -5.8% per 10 years. In contrast, the frequency of long dry spells ≥ 10 consecutive days without rainfall) is becoming more frequent at a rate of 7.2% per 10 years. (…) The annual precipitation decreases from the southeast to the northwest, with 550 mm to the south and less 200 mm to the north. This region receives most (more than 60%) of its annual rainfall in summer. Similar to the annual precipitation, summer rainfall also gradually decrease from the North Plain to the northern arid area.

Suggested article: Gong Dao-Yi, Shi Pei-Jun, Wang Jing-Ai, Daily precipitation changes in the semi-arid region over northern China, 2002.

> "A map of China's South-to-North Water Diversion mega-project."
Originally appeared on Water Technology.

Ma Zhuguo and Fu Congbin stressed that rainfall scarcity will decrease habitat quality, as well as environment. Thus a small water deficiency will likely put plants, agriculture, and environment under pressure. Climate change is not the only reason to affect the northern area.

Suggested article: Ma Zhuguo, Fu Congbin, Interannual characteristics of the surface hydrological variables over the arid and semi-arid areas of northern China, 2002.

According to Zhang Qiaoyun, Lu Tingting and Liu Jinglong's study: semi-arid areas of China are the result of land degradation, desertification, and climate extreme. These drylands are also likely to be dramatically exposed by Climate change, these three researchers add.

Suggested article: Zhang Qiaoyun, Lu Tingting, Liu Jinglong, Vulnerability of rural development in semi-arid area of Northern China — Assessment on the Scale of Community, 2010.

As a result, the addition of these factors will constrain natural resources of this region. To respond to water stress, China recently envisions to divert water from water rich south to the country's arid northern regions, Nate Lanxon reports for the UK edition of Wired. This project entitled National South-to-North Water Diversion Project consists of the construction of three new water routes:
National South-To-North Water Diversion Project.
Originally appeared on Wired.

[T]he government has ploughed 115 billion Yuan into the initiative. The "middle" route will see a 4,587 m long and 175 m deep river being created. By the time this phase is completed in 2014, 330,000 people will have been relocated make way for the new river and water diversion channels.
Precisely, according to Water Technology:
The central route diverts water from the Danjiangkou reservoir on the Han River via new canals near the west edge of the Hyanghuaihai Plain to flow through Henan and Hebei Provinces to Beijing — a diversion route totalling some 1,267km in length. The nearby city of Tianjin will also draw water from the trunk line near Xushui in Hebei Province. Initially designed to transfer 9.5 billion cubic meters of water, by 2030 some 13-14 billion cubic metres will be flowing along this system. The work also includes the construction of two tunnels of 8.5m internal diameter some 7km long, with a flow design of 500 cub. m/3. Declining reserves in the Danjiangkou Reservoir to bolster the supply and meet the demands of this part of the project.
National South-To-North Water Diversion Project.
Originally appeared on Wired.

The project began in December 2003, Water Technology writes:
It was planned to be finished before the commencement of Bejing Olympic Games in August 2008 to provide Beijing with drinking water. However, by September 2008, only 307km of the central route had been completed.
It has been postponed to 2014 due to the expansion of the Danjiangkou reservoir, the same Water Technology reports. But this will not be done without any concerns as this diversion is accompanied with environmental stress:
[P]rincipally regarding the loss of antiquities, the displacement of people and the destruction of pasture land. In addition, plans for further industrialisation along the routes of the project pose a serious risk of pollution to the diverted water.
National South-To-North Water Diversion Project.
Originally appeared on Wired.

Certainly, China may answer that risk should be taken when facing such concerns. Be that as it may, I can't wait for detailed information on this project.

Source: Wired and Water Technology

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