Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- A section of China’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project, the world’s biggest such undertaking, started supplying water through its eastern route.
The route’s first phase, designed to ease shortages in China’s arid north and costing more than 50 billion yuan ($8.2 billion), delivers water from the Yangtze River in Jiangsu province to Shandong along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the state-run China Daily said yesterday, citing the project office.
The diversion will benefit as many as 100 million people by supplying as much as 8.77 billion cubic meters of water annually to the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong, the report said. The amount of water supplied will be adjusted annually based on shortages in the provinces and inflows in the route’s upper reaches, according to the report.
A rising population and urban migration along with economic growth means China needs more clean water for industry, irrigation and drinking. The project will transfer 44.8 billion cubic meters of water a year from the nation’s water-rich south through three routes to the parched north including Beijing, the Daily said.
The price of diverted water will be higher than local sources, the report said, citing Yang Jianwei, a Shandong official in charge of the project.
The central route’s first phase, expected to be completed this year, will deliver water from the Danjiangkou reservoir in Hubei province to northern cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang and Zhengzhou, beginning next year.
The western route supplementing the Yellow River with water from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River is in planning, the report said.
--Feifei Shen. Editors: Iain Wilson, Rebecca Keenan