China redirects trillions of gallons of water to arid north

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Beijing, Dec. 26 (ANI): Notwithstanding daunting technical and logistical challenges, China has decided to embark on one of the biggest hydro-engineering projects in world history, that will see the arid northern parts of the country finally receiving water.

The South-North Water project is to come up in Xichuan County in Henan Province, and is so vast that it dwarfs the Three Gorges Dam in cost, scale and perhaps even controversy.

Scheduled to be finished in 2050, the plan to link China's four main rivers and redirect trillions of gallons of water from China's tropical southern mountains to its arid northern plains will have taken 100 years from conception to completion.

At 37 billion pound the project will cost more than twice as much as the Three Gorges Dam, delivering nearly 12 trillion gallons of water along three networks of tunnels and canals that will branch out into northern, eastern and central China.

Machuan village, and hundreds more like it, have been identified as the necessary sacrifice to create the Central section which, when completed 2014, will carry water 883 miles to the residents of several major northern cities, including Beijing.

Their rough-built houses will be submerged under an enormous reservoir created by an enlarged dam at the confluence of the Han and Dan rivers in central China, which will create the header-tank for the system.

Despite their complaints, most of the peasants accept that they will have to move in the end, although the road-signs erected by the local propaganda department proclaiming they give their "full support" for the project might be an overstatement.

Critics of the scheme say it is both financially costly and environmentally wasteful, with huge amounts of water lost to evaporation as it travels north in mostly open canals.

Other experts have warned that plans for industrial expansion along the canal's length will mean much of the water will already be heavily polluted with chemicals and heavy metals before it even reaches the thirsty new residential suburbs of Beijing. (ANI)

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