First flows in middle route of $62B water transport project arrives in Beijing

World Today

The first drops of water from a $62 billion project to transport water from southern China to the north arrived in Beijing today. CCTV’s Han Bin reported this story from Beijing.

The water’s 15-day journey across 1,200 kilometers or 746 miles, began in the Han river, a tributary of the Yangtze river, China’s largest waterway at the Danjiangkou Reservoir in the central China’s Hubei province. This part of the project will supply 9.5 billion cubic meters of water annually to northern regions, including the Beijing and Tianjin, and provinces of Henan and Hebei.

First flows in middle route of $62B water transport project arrives in Beijing

The first drops of water from a $62 billion project to transport water from southern China to the north arrived in Beijing today. CCTV's Han Bin reported this story from Beijing.

Saturday’s delivery marks the completion of first stage of the middle route of the south-to-north project. Construction began exactly 12 years ago.

The project will have significant economic, social and environmental impacts, E Jingping, chief of the State Council’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project Commission Office said.

Next year, about 800 million cubic meters of water will be sent to Beijing from the south.

At the capital city’s largest drinking water treatment facility, daily capacity is more than 1.7 million cubic meters. Staffmembers said that demand has increased each year, but the treatment capacity has reached its maximum.

Beijing, on average, consumes 3.6 billion cubic meters of water annually and the project will eventually deliver 1 billion cubic meters of water to Beijing. The water resource per capita in Beijing is one eightieth of the world average.

“The diversion water will be mixed with Beijing’s water. They will undergo the same treatment before being put into use. The final ratio will be decided by the actual amount flowing to the city,” Guo Qiang, senior engineer at the Bejing No. 9 water treatment company said.

Critics argue that while the project may alleviate some water pressures, it also displaced more than 340,000 people.

Many also said that instead of building more projects, the capital city should rethink the speed and scale of its development.

“Raising the price of water can not only reimburse some of the cost, but more importantly, it helps to encourage water conservation in society. But fresh water is a basic living commodity that cannot be too expensive for residents’ daily use. The diversion water is to improve living standards rather than reduce them,” professor Shen Dajun of Renmin University said.

The government will now decide who will get the water first. Resident Shang Runbao said she always tries to save water and added that she’s willing to pay more for a reliable supply. However the project won’t be able to solve all of the city’s water problems, she added.

Story compiled with information from CCTV America and China Daily reports.