China launches largest water diversion project in the world

China has officially launched the world’s largest water diversion project, which will divert water from the Yangtze River in the south to the country’s dry north, including Beijing.

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji gave the go-ahead on 27 December, for the first phase of the south-north cross-country water-transfer project at a ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People.

The project, valued at US$59 billion, may cost twice as much as the ongoing Three Gorges Hydroelectric Project.

The project will be the biggest of its kind in the world and the largest engineering program in China. It consists of three canals running about 1,300 km through the country’s eastern, middle and western parts.

It will benefit the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and Jiangsu and Shandong provinces.

This project is hoped to relieve water shortages in north China, conserve water, tackle pollution and be environmentally friendly, according to officials.

A simultaneous ceremony was also held in Jangsu and Shandong provinces, where the three water diversion channels will run through.

According to the article, by 2050 it is expected the project will be capable of shifting 44.8 billion cubic meters of water annually.

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